My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Bruce Bromberg

Album Review: Dale Watson – ‘I Hate These Songs’

MI0000139086Dale Watson released his completely self-penned third album, I Hate These Songs, in 1997. Produced once again by Bruce Bromberg, the album failed to chart and didn’t produce any singles.

The album itself contains fourteen tracks. The record opens strong, with the excellent “Jack’s Truck Stop and Café,” a story song embellished with a lovely arrangement soaked with fiddle and steel.

Watson spends the rest of the album convincingly channeling Waylon Jennings and throwing back to the lovely honky-tonk country that was popular in the 1960s. I Hate These Songs is a real delight, with the fiddle and steel that prominently drench every track.

I will admit that I’m a newcomer to Watson’s brand of country music. I’ve never listened to his work before writing this review. I knew exactly what to expect in his sound, but he’s even better than I could’ve imagined.

Watson’s sound on I Hate These Songs is a beautiful hybrid of Jennings along with the distinctive style Dave Dudley popularized back in the day. I was blown away by the mid-tempo chug of “Hey Driver,” another of Watson’s famous truckin’ anthems, and a brilliant blending of twangy lead guitar and copious helpings of steel. “Hair of the Dog” is a perfect ode to Jennings, from the distinctive guitar work to Watson’s unmistakable baritone.

The title track isn’t a message about the album itself so much as a sorrow-filled reflection from a man viewing the world through the influence of alcohol. It’s also a fantastic barroom ballad.

In reality, there isn’t a wrong note to be found on I Hate These Songs. Watson has perfectly crafted a cohesive project that plays like a complete work from beginning to end. I may not have checked him out before, but after taking the time to listen to I Hate These Songs, I’m excited to listen to what else his catalog has in store.

Grade: A

Album Review: Heather Myles – ‘Just Like Old Times’

just like old times mylesHeather’s debut album in 1992 on the prominent independent roots label HighTone Records drew comparisons with Dwight Yoakam, was tastefully and sympathetically produced by label president Bruce Bromberg, best known for his work with blues artists. Heather was a hardcore neo-honky tonker and the record is packed full of excellent mostly self-penned material in a generally traditional vein.

The outstanding song, the steel-laced ‘Rum And Rodeo’, has an irresistible, sinuous melody. Heather exudes a wearied melancholic regret as she ponders the drink problem which destroyed her cowboy lover and her love for him:

You had my love and then you let it go
It’s been three years since you walked through my door
Now you say you want to start anew
Well, I think I’ve had my fill of you
Cause too much rum and rodeo
Got the better of your cowboy soul
You never spend one night alone
You got no home to call your own

It may not have made mainstream waves, but it is a stunning song and beautiful vocal.

You probably know Jim Lauderdale’s ‘Stay Out Of My Arms’ from George Strait’s cut (on his Easy Come Easy Go album) a year after Heather’s version, which is excellent. Also great are the Bakersfield style shuffle ‘Make A Fool Out Of Me’ and the pacy honky tonker ‘Lovin’ The Bottle Tonight’. The sassy ‘Love Lyin’ Down’ has Heather responding to a man planning to leave with a firm kissoff. ‘I Love You, Goodbye’ is another excellent song, a sweetly sung ballad with a cynical lyric, as the disillusioned protagonist faces her ex-lover with another woman.

‘One Good Reason Why’ is a ballad with a lovely melody and regretful lyric looking back on an adulterous relationship. The title track is a ballad about meeting up with an ex-lover with a subtle Mexican feel. A languid wistful reading of the Stonewall Jackson classic ‘Why I’m Walkin’’ is also good although the Ricky Skaggs’ version from the 80s remains my personal favorite.

The less remarkable but pleasant ‘Changes’ and ‘The Other Side Of Town’ with its sympathetic look at lonely urban lives aren’t bad but not quite as strong as the other songs. She closes with a left-field entry, a sultry blues cheating song written by bluesman Robert Cray (a labelmate) entitled ‘Playin’ In The Dirt’, which works well.

This is a excellent album which deserves to be better known, and probably would be if Heather had had a major label deal. If you lean to the more traditional side of country, pick this one up.

Grade: A