Country Music People March 2019 - Page 32

albumreviews TODD SNIDER Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3  FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE Can’t Say I Ain’t Country  1/2 Working On A Song / Talking Reality Television Blues / Like A Force Of Nature / Just Like Overnight / The Blues On Banjo / Framed / The Ghost Of Johnny Cash / Cowboy Jack Clements Waltz / Watering Flowers In The Rain / A Timeless Response To Current Events Producer: Todd Snider Aimless 34:16 Todd Snider was playing some Woody Guthrie and realised that Guthrie was telling him that it is more important to ask yourself why you are doing a song instead of how you are doing it. With that in mind, he has written ten songs and recorded them with just his voice, guitar and harmonica in Johnny Cash’s old studio. Loretta Lynn recorded in that studio which inspires a song about Loretta Lynn dancing with the ghost of Johnny Cash and another about Johnny’s great friend, Cowboy Jack Clement. There is a song for one of Elvis’ roadies who used to fantasize about it being the other way around. My guess would be Jerry Schilling and the song is Watering Flowers In The Rain. A recurring theme of the album is about how to write suitable material whether it be a song or a talking blues. For around 20 years he has been wondering what to do with the line “Where do I go now that I’m gone?” and now he has written a song about wondering what to do with the line “Where do I go now that I’m gone?” and he has called it Working On A Song. It is clever and amusing but I don’t think that I will want to hear it often. On the other hand, I would be surprised if Just Like Overnight doesn’t become a mainstay of his stage performances. The best track is Talking Reality Television Blues, which is a sideways look at the growth of the media leading up to the star of The Apprentice becoming the President. It’s full of funny lines but I won’t spoil the build-up by quoting them to you. By comparison, the final track lacks bite, although Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires join him to sing the much-repeated “Ain’t that some bullshit?” A warning by the way that this album contains language far stronger than that. Spencer Leigh 32 cmp - MARCH 2019 Tyler Got Him a Tesla (skit feat. Brother Jervel) / Can’t Say I Ain’t Country / Simple / Talk You Out of It / All Gas No Brakes / Speed of Love / Women (feat Jason Derulo) / People Are Different / Told You / Sack’a Puppies (skit feat Brother Jervel) / Y’all Boys (feat. Hardy) / Small Town / Sittin’ Pretty / Catfish Nuggets (skit feat. Brother Jervel) / Can’t Hide The Red (feat. Jason Aldean) / Colorado / Like You Never Had It / Swerve / Blessings Producer: Joey Moi Big Machine Label Group 50:29 With a title like Can’t Say I Ain’t Country Florida Georgia Line seem to be being deliberately setting themselves up for a review saying simply “Yes we can” or something similar. Off the back of nearly a year atop the Hot Country Singles chart there is no doubting the star status of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, but the duo are often portrayed as everything that many consider to be wrong with country music today. This new record was strictly “embargoed” ahead of its release with the single, Women, dropping a few weeks ahead of time. I think I can safely say that Women ain’t country. Featuring RnB singer Jason Derulo, who himself has sold more than 30 million singles in his career, Women is super-catchy pop/RnB. I liked it, but even the most ardent advocate of country music’s evolving sound surely couldn’t suggest that it bears any resemblance to a country record. Across the 19 tracks are four “skits” with Brother Jervel and collaborations with Jason Aldean and Hardy as well as Derulo. Hardy is a frequent co-writer with the FGL boys and becoming an artist in his own right while Brother Jervel appears to be either Tyler or Brian channelling Larry The Cable Guy. That’s a lot of tracks, and the skits are likely to be tiresome rather quickly, but give it a chance and Can’t Say I Ain’t Country delivers some decent tracks and even sounds quite country at times. Simple is just that, but sometimes simplicity is all you need, and Speed Of Love has shades of Brooks & Dunn all over it. Even haters are likely to enjoy Told You, with its classic RnB vibe, if they give it a chance, but how they’ll take to the track featuring Hardy, complete with what sounds like a Johnny Cash sample and every cliché in the book is another matter. Sittin’ Pretty has an irresistibly catchy summer groove and the anthemic Colorado is sure to delight the crowds at their live shows. The Aldean track rocks as you might expect an Aldean track to do but as a song isn’t as strong as some of the other tracks here. As for Swerve, FGL haven’t managed to avoid the absolute car crash of a song that it is. I don’t know what they were thinking and it actually lets the album down a little. Full of potential hits and most likely several number ones, Hubbard and Kelley embrace the fun side of modern RnB flavoured country and will sell it by the trailerload. However, if they’d omitted the RnB stuff and left out the skits, as a twelve-tracker this really would have silenced some of their critics. As it is it will delight fans, and some of it, especially the final track – Blessings – is more country than many might expect. Full of highs and lows, but more highs than I was expecting. Alex Rossi