My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Jacob Bryant

Album Review: Tim Culpepper – ‘DUI (Drinkin’ Under The Influence)’

I loved Mississippi-born, Alabama-raised Tim Culpepper’s solidly traditional Pourin’ Whiskey On Pain half a dozen years ago, and I was delighted to see he had released a follow-up. This is real country music, sung by a man with a great classic country baritone. The prodiction is solid with fiddle, steel guitar and honky on piano. He wrote most of the songs with his wife Jeanette Marie.

The opener ‘Drove Her Away’ is a regretful look at a relationship killed by the man’s poor choices. ‘Another Way To Try’ is a slow ballad about drinking to soothe the pain of a woman leaving.

‘She Only Loves Me’ is about being the lady’s fallback option when no one else is available.

The best song is the almost-title track, ‘Under The Influence’. This is a wonderful tribute to classic country music:

I love to hear some Haggard
Lord he sounds so good with beer
When that jukebox plays some Jones and Strait
You can always find me here
So put on Whitley’s stuff
I’ll slide my barstool up
And you can pour me a shot that’s strong
Cause I’m under the influence of hardcore country songs

I wanna hear a crying steel guitar
A fiddle and a five piece band
Give me an ice cold brew
Three chords and the truth
About the workin’ and the common man
I’m hooked on tradition
Inebriated by the honky tonks
And I’m under the influence of hardcore country songs

They didn’t sell their soul for fire and smoke just to be superstars
That’s why I love those legends
They stayed true to who they are
So crank up Hank and turn up Vern
Put on Gene and drink along
Cause I’m under the influence of hardcore country songs

There is a cameo appearance by fellow traditionalist Ken Mellons. Fabulous.

The power of music is also a central element to ‘Thirsty’ (which Tim and his wife wrote with Jacob Bryant), where the protagonist takes refuges from a hot day and missing his loved one in a bar room with a jukebox, with Keith Whitley the final resort. Another great song.

In another song Tim personifies the ‘Sad Ole Country Song’, “a reminder of love gone wrong”.

Tim recounts his life in music with a mixture of fondness and wry regret for his lack of stardom, all inspired by ‘Daddy’s Old Guitar’, while he would

Sing my songs to empty barstools for hardly any pay
But I sing them anyway

The final song (a cowrite with Jeff “Hoot” Gibson) addresses the state of both the USA and country music in ‘Take Back Our Country Again’

Jesus and Jack Daniels are in high demand
Politicians try to sell us on their progressive plans

They force feed us music on our radio
Killin’ tradition down on Music Row
While they’re gaining ground we’re losing control
Bring on the fiddle, a little misery and gin
And let’s take back our country again

There is some particularly lovely fiddle on this track.

My only regrets about this record are that there are only eight tracks and hat it’s been so long in the making.

Grade: A

Single Review – The Band Perry – ‘Done.’

DoneI’ve had Kathy Mattea on the brain lately, thanks in no small part to the life enriching experience I had seeing her live for the first time in late February. I came away stunned by her intellect and grace, but more importantly, her ability to pick songs that have an indelible magic. Her material is ageless and sounds just as good coming from a 53 year old as it did all those years ago when she was in her 20s and 30s.

The power of a great song is lost on much of mainstream country music today but judging from their 2010 eponymous album, I always thought The Band Perry had ‘it.’ I’ve loved all their singles (expect “Hip To my Heart”) to date, and they’ve truly been one of the bright spots on country radio in the past three years.

But there’s something way off about ‘Done,’ the second preview of their soon to be released (April 2) sophomore record Pioneer. What’s allowed them to stand out is an innate ability at mixing a sweet likability with a dark edge. Take that away, and they’re just another mainstream act vying for the attention of fans

At the simplest level, “Done” is so sloppily constructed, it’s beneath a band with this much talent. What struck me first was how juvenile the lyrics were, especially the chorus:

Mama always told me that I should play nice

She didn’t know you when she gave me that advice

I’m through, with you

You’re one page I’d like to burn

Bottle up the ashes, smash the urn

I’m through with you, la ti da

I don’t wanna be your just for fun

Don’t wanna be under your thumb

All I wanna be is…done

Seriously? They couldn’t even find at least one ear catching phrase to make their point? Lines like ‘I don’t wanna be your just for fun’ or ‘I’m through, with you’ are so childish, it’s almost embarrassing. The verses aren’t much better, oozing with the maturity level of a thirteen-year-old girl breaking up with her first love (“It’s gonna hit you hard Til You see stars” and “You play with dynamite don’t be surprised when I blow up in your face”). “Done” is like the reject song Taylor Swift left off her first album, the one that made “Picture To Burn” seem like such a good idea at the time.

I can forgive bad songwriting if I enjoy the track’s production (can’t “Done” just sound even a little country?), a case evident with TBP’s “You Lie,” which was actually clever. But the breakneck speed of “Done” makes the intent feel disingenuous, almost exacerbating the song’s lyrical problems. I give Kimberly credit for putting her sass into overdrive (and her vocal is strong as usual), but this feels like a comedy show, not a biting revenge anthem towards a dead-end boyfriend.

They need to do way better than this if they want to have a catalog of hits worthy of being sung thirty years from now.

Grade: C

Songwriters: Reid Perry, Neil Perry, John Davidson, Jacob Bryant

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