September 22, 2020

Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer – Sony Nashville

By Kristi Kates | May 5, 2018

Galloping through its trademark hoedown-sound with a wealth of stringed instruments, country-fried vocals, and energetic percussion, the Medicine Show, with Dave Cobb on board for production duties, is in a rowdy mood on this set. The too-short “Shout Mountain Music” holds fast to the band’s fast-pickin’ sensibilities, with “Dixie Avenue” offering a similar lively approach; the slower-paced side of the set’s offerings includes the Eagles-reminiscent “Whirlwind” and “Look Away,” both ballads that lean heavily on the nostalgic whine of a steel guitar. *** ½

Various Artists – I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas – Merge
A collaborative effort between The Mountain Goats (the band), Merge Records, and podcast gurus Night Vale Presents, this collection brings together covers of each track from the The Mountain Goats’ 2002 album, with a cast of standout musicians contributing the music itself, while the podcast-esque segments share info on the recording and writing of the tunes. Don’t-miss tracks include Andrew Bird’s reboot of “Distant Stations,” Craig Finn’s version of “Fault Lines,” and Amanda Palmer’s take on “The Mess Inside.” A cool bonus: each artist’s insights on the music. *** 

Jordan Davis – Home State – MCA Nashville
A dozen tracks make up Louisiana native Davis’ debut album, on which he co-wrote all of the tunes and brought in accomplished producer Paul DiGiovanni to help add cohesion. Opening with “Take It From Me,” an anthem to breaking away from the crowd, the album is somewhat uneven: One track offers little more than clichés, while the next nicely outlines unexpected slices of life, like the impromptu dance floor Davis makes out of a slab of suburban concrete (“Slow Dance in a Parking Lot”), or New Orleans seen through the eyes of a spurned romance. ** ½

Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon – Low Country
The Grammy-nominated singer is back with his latest set, which was recorded in Nashville, includes 11 new tunes, and is supported by Cobb’s ongoing Ain’t a Road Too Long Tour. The tour itself slots nicely into the album’s overall theme, which is one of travel and the open road (see tracks like “High in the Country” and “Ain’t a Road … ”). Its first single, “King of Alabama,” features plenty of those usual Cobb-meets-The Avett Brothers Southern rock rhythms and personal details. ** ½


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