My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Drew Kennedy

Album Review: Courtney Patton – ‘So This Is Life’

so this is lifeCourtney Patton, wife of Jason Eady, is a singer-songwriter with an alto voice reminiscent of Holly Williams, but more traditional country inclinations. Fellow songwriter Drew Kennedy produces tastefully, showcasing Courtney’s warm vocals and outstanding songs.

The excellent story song ‘Little Black Dress’ opens the set, and is the first of a series of convincing portraits in song. Set to a stately waltztime beat, it relates the story of a woman going through a disillusioning dating process. Later we meet the wearied wife pondering ‘Her Next Move’ but stuck in a holding pattern.

More personally, ‘War Of Art’ tackles the struggle between pursuing a musical career with life as a wife and mother, possibly inspired by the failure of her first marriage to a non-musician. Written soon after her marriage to Eady, the autobiographical ‘Twelve Days Out’ is about enduring the separation from a touring musician husband, with some sweet lonesome fiddle and quotes from ‘Marina del Rey’ and ‘Little Green Apples’. ‘Sure Am Glad’ is a love song which may also be rooted in real life.

The title track is an agonized dissection of the long drawn out death of her parents’ marriage after over 30 years together. ‘But I Did’, also autobiographical, is more positive in mood as Courtney reflects on her childhood.

The gorgeous steel-drenched waltz ‘Need For Wanting’ (probably my favourite track) is a bar room weeper with the narrator rejecting a man’s advances:

Lately my world has been crumbling around me
And sometimes it scares me to death
So thanks for the whiskey and the lingering glances
But your chances aren’t looking too bright
I’ll entertain you but
Don’t misinterpret my need for wanting tonight

You look like a lesson I learned long ago
And I know more than I care to say
‘Bout how men like you will work on a woman
Till you win or she walks away
So the longer I sit here the more you believe
That you’ve convinced me that it be alright
But I’m leaving alone so you shouldn’t mistake
My need for wanting tonight

But with a cynical little twist by the end of the song and the evening’s drinking, she lets him take her home after all.

The shuffle ‘Killing Time’ sees Courtney satisfied that an ex is paying for his bad behaviour with prison time. ‘Battle These Blues’ is an account of heartbreak, while the thoughtful ‘Maybe It’s You’ reflects gently and rather sadly on struggling with a troubled relationship:

It’s easy to forgive but nowhere as easy to forget
How you were wrong and let it be alright

The one song Courtney did not write, ‘Where I’ve Been’, was contributed by her husband Jason Eady. It is an excellent song about a woman taking comfort where she can while her marriage falls apart, and confessing wearily:

This is not what I wanted
I’d rather be home
But a home takes more than me
So if you ever get tired of lonely Just remember
I’m only as gone as you want me to be
Cause you ain’t been giving me the kind of love I’m needing
And you just ain’t been living like the man that I once knew
So I’ve given up and given in
Taken what I need every now again
And if you ever decide that you ever want to try again
Well, I’ll be here in the morning
Just don’t ask me where I’ve been

This is a wonderful record full of mature songwriting about real people and their complicated emotional lives. I strongly recommend it.

Grade: A+

Album Review: Jason Eady – ‘AM Country Heaven’

Mississippi-born and Texas-based Jason Eady moves from the Americana hybrid of his excellent last album When The Money’s All Gone to something more deeply rooted in country. Tastefully produced by Kevin Welch, with backings from Austin-based band Heybale and special Lloyd Maines on steel, it is a low key delight with some excellent songs, almost all written by the extremely talented Eady, occasionally with a co-writer. His pleasing, plaintive voice is ideally suited to his material.

The brilliant title track excoriates the state of country radio, when,

They sing about Jesus and they sing about Jones
And they sing of American pride
But they’re all too damn clean
They’re polished like stones and they won’t sing about cheating or lies…

I knew it was over the day that I overheard a record executive cry
“Keep it all simple, don’t get offensive and don’t play songs in three quarter time”

Well Mr Record Man I hope you don’t take offence
But you’re a hell of a joke I can tell
You’re the reason we’re in AM country heaven
And FM country hell

This sets the tone for an album full of real country music, with songs rooted in real lives.

The excellent ‘Old Guitar And Me’ is a possibly autobiographical tale about growing a little older as a struggling musician, and not quite getting anywhere. Fellow singer-songwriter Walt Wilkins sings backing vocals.

Dealing with the consequences of past choices is a common theme for many of the songs here, with a general mood of acceptance. The subdued and somewhat obscure ‘Tomorrow Morning’ compels attention with its quiet determination,

Cannot live in the light alone
There’s no redemption without the sin
And I must go through darkness knowing
Tomorrow morning I’ll begin again

It ain’t an easy road that I have taken
But I will take it til the end
Every day is joy and sorrow
Tomorrow morning I’ll begin again

The downbeat ‘Wishful Drinking’ has Lloyd Maines’s steel supporting the troubled protagonist’s wistful thoughts about a former lover he desperately hopes (and clearly doesn’t really believe) might still be thinking of him. Eady is very good at bring to life this kind of complex emotion, and he does so on the slow and regretful ‘Longer Walk In The Rain’ considers past choices and a former loved one, and their ongoing emotional impact.

‘I’ll Sure Be Glad When I’m Gone’ (written by Jason with Kevin Welch and Roger Ray) tackles the complex emotions combining relief and regret around an impending breakup. The protagonist of the gentle sounding ‘Lying To Myself’ sounds defeated from the start, as he struggles with life and loss and his own responsibility for the failure of the relationship:

I might need forgiving one of these days
But for now I’ll go on living this way
Running and fighting to survive
Lying to myself to stay alive

The unexpectedly sprightly ‘Paid My Dues’ features bright harmonies from Cary Ann Hearst, and is about a man trying to get over various drug habits, and feeling frustrated by the time it is taking to get better.

On a more positive note, Patty Loveless duets on the delightful bluegrass of ‘Man On A Mountain’, a love song between a wild mountain man (and “a mountain of a man” to boot) and the valley town girl he calls his lily of the valley, but he doesn’t want to get married and she won’t “live in sin” with him. They have allowed their differences to come between them but long for one another. Patty is at her mountain best on this charming song, and her presence on this track is likely to bring the album as a whole some much-deserved attention. The song was written by Eady with Matt Powell, Drew Kennedy, and Josh Grider.

The sardonic up-tempo ‘Forget About The Truth’ offers another change of mood as the protagonist is disillusioned about his girlfriend but is prepared to overlook the lies at least for another night together.

‘Sober On The Weekends’ (0ne of two songs not written by Eady, but by Scott Copeland) is a drinking song with a blues groove about a girlfriend who spend her weeks drinking and her weekends with her man getting high on love instead. The other Copeland song, Water Into Wine has tastefully subtle gospel backing vocals from the Trishas’ Jamie Wilson. In this interesting song, a backslider and onetime choir singer takes refuge in the bottle and “earthly desires that consume what’s left of my life”.

This is one of those rare albums where there really are no weaker tracks. If you like this, I’d also recommend downloading the excellent ‘Promises In Pieces’ and ‘Cry Pretty’ from When The Money’s All Gone, which are on similar stylistic lines and great songs.

Grade: A

There’s a short interview with Jason Eady over at Country California.