Album Feature – Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times

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Aug 052020
 

By Joshua Wallace

I have been a fan of Charley Crockett’s for a long time.  He has become quite prolific and has produced five albums since 2017’s Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee.  Earlier this year he produced an album called Field Recordings, Vol. 1.  It’s steeped in old time music with plenty of traditional and a few original tunes as well.  Welcome To Hard Times is an album of mostly original tunes with a cover of Red Lane’s “Blackjack County Chain”.  This is Charley Crockett’s best album yet and I’m here to tell you why.

The album kicks off with the title track “Welcome To Hard Times”.  I love this song.  The piano riff is simple, catchy and takes you straight to the old spaghetti western movies.  This album goes for that psychedelic western motif a lot and it helps to tie the entire thing together.  Another great tune is “Run Horse Run”.  It picks up the gambling theme and runs with it a bit on a song that sounds like a train going down the tracks.  This one is sure to be fun to hear live.  “Don’t Cry” is a song about leaving that was co-written by Dan Auerbach and Pat McLaughlin.  This tune is a song about a man who is always bound to leave, but promises his girl that he’s always coming back home.  It’s a great ballad that continues the western themes that run throughout this album.

“Lily My Dear” is a song that sounds like a traditional banjo tune but it was written by Charley with Vincent Neil Emerson, Colin Colby and Tyler Heiser.  It’s a song about a woman who visits a man who is down on his luck in prison.  It’s a great tune.  “Paint It Blue” is another great tune about an outlaw on the run who is missing the woman he left behind. I love the pedal steel throughout this track.  Nathan Fleming does a great job on pedal steel throughout this album.  “Blackjack County Chain” is another great tune that is a cover of a Red Lane song made famous by Willie Nelson.  Willie Nelson saw some success with it, but this song was eventually removed from radio play because of the lyrics about slavery.  Charley Crockett does a great job with this one and it fits right in on an album with tunes about outlaws, drifters and gamblers.  Finally, “The Man That Time Forgot” is a song that sounds like it came right from an album out of the 60’s or 70’s with it’s superb pedal steel and solid country gold sound. 

Charley Crockett comes off as someone with a deep knowledge of country and old time music.  There’s lots of piano driven honky tonk here mixed in with solid country gold and pedal steel.  This album is full of stories of outlaws, prisoners, gamblers and ramblers and all of them have some kind of heartbreak.  It’s my favorite record of 2020 so far.  Charley Crockett is definitely on my short list of names to see live when live shows start happening again.  In the meantime, you can follow Charley on his website here.  Welcome To Hard Times came out on July 31st, 2020 and is available everywhere you can find good music.

Favorite Tracks : Welcome To Hard Times, Run Horse Run, Don’t Cry, Lily My Dear, Heads You Win, Paint It Blue, Blackjack County Chain, The Man That Time Forgot

Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times (2020)

  1. Welcome To Hard Times
  2. Run Horse Run
  3. Don’t Cry
  4. Tennessee Special
  5. Fool Somebody Else
  6. Lily My Dear
  7. Wreck Me
  8. Heads You Win
  9. Rainin’ In My Heart
  10. Paint It Blue
  11. Blackjack County Chain
  12. The Man That Time Forgot
  13. The Poplar Tree

Album Feature – Vincent Neil Emerson – Fried Chicken & Evil Women

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Sep 172019
 

By Joshua Wallace

If you want an album that is 100% Grade A certified classic country in 2019, look no further than Vincent Neil Emerson’s debut record called Fried Chicken & Evil Women.  This record hits all the notes of what you would want in a classic country album. Smooth country crooning, nice pedal steel, honky tonk piano, it’s all there. This 27 year old from East Texas has put together the complete package.  There isn’t a bad track on this record. Let’s take a dive into it.

The first highlight here is a great piece of song writing called “Willie Nelson’s Wall”.  It starts out with an amazing pedal steel riff and I love the opening line “I’m as high as a fly on Willie Nelson’s wall”.  It’s a great upbeat song about being high. Another highlight is the title track “Fried Chicken & Evil Women”. The pedal steel and honky tonk guitar are thick on this track, as it is on most of this album.

“Dade County Jail” starts off with some piano chords that will make you think you’re back in church.  But in reality, the song is a slow blues track about waking up in jail. I love the acoustic guitar solo on this one.  Some really good songwriting here. Finally, “Highway Shine” kicks off with some simple acoustic picking and great crooning from Vincent till the full band kicks in.  It’s a smooth track about wanderlust that closes out the album. There’s some more great solo work on this track and I love the shout out to Billy Joe Shaver.

Vincent Neil Emerson has released an impressive debut album with Fried Chicken & Evil Women.  In fact, this is one of the most country albums you will find in 2019. The playing and songwriting are top notch throughout and I cannot wait to see where this takes Vincent.  I hope to be able to see him live one day. Fried Chicken & Evil Women is available everywhere you can find good country music as of Friday September 13th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Willie Nelson’s Wall, Fried Chicken & Women, Dade County Jail, Highway Shine

Vincent Neil Emerson – Fried Chicken & Evil Women (2019)

  1. 25 & Wastin’ Time
  2. Willie Nelson’s Wall
  3. Fried Chicken & Evil Women
  4. The Bad Side Of Luck
  5. Cactus Blossom Special
  6. 7 Come 11
  7. Devil In My Bed
  8. Letters On The Marquee
  9. Dade County Jail
  10.  Highway Shine