Record Of The Week # 76

October 17, 2019

Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers after 12 years together and five albums have hit the big time with an album at Number 1 in the Billboard Country chart and Number 2 in the Billboard Rock chart. This release took just under three weeks to record in Texas. It rocks. The PR says “Whiskey Myers continue pushing in all directions and sharpening their attack, whether country, rock, blues, whatever — even adding the legendary McCrary Sisters’ gospel influence to the project on background vocals”.

The modus operandi (on all 14 tracks) is Cody Cannon’s vocals up front in the mix. His insistent husky tones drive this along complemented by some fine lead guitar from Cody Tate. This is straight rock; you can hear traces of The Black Crowes, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Blackberry Smoke and others. Like all good 70s rock you have a mixture of the odd ballad with girly back up vocals (“Bad Weather”), bellowed rockers (“Hammer”, “Kentucky Gold”, “Die Rockin’”, “Mona Lisa” and “Gasoline”) and many long mellifluous guitar solos over explosive (yet plodding) drumbeats.

Occasionally the formula is broken and we go a little Indie with “Bitch”. (That only applies to the rhythm, as the signature guitar lick is straight rock with the obligatory solo). Ballads include some classic Steve Tyler impressions on “California To Caroline” (albeit the slide guitar is hardly Joe Perry). Near Country Rock workouts turn up on “Houston County Sky” and “Running”. Frankly it’s a relief to dial down the electricity and hear some acoustic strumming with some sweet slide complimenting the melody.

The band says they felt liberated in producing the album themselves. They appear to have learnt from their previous mentors and in credit the arrangements often involve harmonica, slide/lap guitar, mandolin (“Bury My Bones”) and layers of vocal that add a little needed texture.

Even in the transgenre world of Country or Americana it’s a delusion to suggest it belongs here. A smidgeon of Southern rock, a tincture of blues or a guest appearance of a fiddle might have merited a dubious acknowledgement that this wasn’t exclusively a rock outing. In fairness the band doesn’t define a genre for their music and it seems the rock music press are as excited about this band, and album, as anyone else. If you want road tested electric rock recycled with energy and conviction it’s for you.

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