Music Reviews – Turnpike Troubadours – Diamonds & Gasoline
Diamonds & Gasoline (hear it for yourself)
2010 has been a surprisingly prolific year for good, new music from artists and groups young and old. It’s not the late 70s music explosion, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new offerings from a number of artists. Topping that list are Slash, Peter Gabriel, Daughtry, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers . But as enthusiastic as I’ve been for those proven, big-name performers’ new works, the biggest pleasant surprise of 2010 for me is unquestionably the Turnpike Troubadours. Their new album continues to climb its way up my “most played” list. The new album, Diamonds & Gasoline is, start to finish, a breath of fresh Oklahoma air! A heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Cousin Judi for again finding a gem in the Red Dirt of Oklahoma!
The Turnpike Troubadours play a mix of “Folk, Country, Cajun and Bluegrass with stories of longing, humor, tragedy, and general life in rural America,” according to their own website at turnpiketroubadours.com. With Diamonds & Gasoline, the Troubadours delivered an entire album of honky-tonk friendly, crowd-pleasing, sing-along, two-stepping to songs. From the first listen, I was hooked. I couldn’t help being drawn in by the melodies and catchy, universal-themed lyrics.
The distinctive voice of the Turnpike Troubadours is singer-songwriter Evan Felker. His tone and pitch fit the Country, Bluegrass, Folk, songs like a Gisele Bundchen thong. Accompanied by Ryan Engleman on lead guitar, Kyle Nix on fiddle, R.C. Edwards on bass, and Giovanni Carnuccio on drums, Felker spins a two-step worthy, sing-along yarn like few others.
From the CDs opening song, “Every Girl” (currently on the Texas Top 20 list as of this posting), you immediately feel the “everyman” (and everywoman) quality that the entire CD exudes. As lead vocalist Evan Felker sings “she don’t talk about religion, she talks about the Stones, she’s every girl I’ve ever known” you know he means it, because you knew that girl too—and lots of girls like her. Hell, you consoled your Felker-like friends about those girls forever while growing up.
Every Girl (hear it for yourself)
A good first song is an industry trick, but when the second and third deliver also, you realize that you might be on to something special. And they weren’t even started yet, my favorite four songs were still to come. Each song delivered the goods—themes we all relate to, feet-tapping, head-bobbin’ melodies, and “heart on his sleeve” vocals. All of us are hard-wired to respond to those things. The Turnpike Troubadours played me like a virtuouso-hitting on all of those cylinders, song after song.
After the first few songs, I began listening for the “everyman” lyric and hook it was attached to. With no less than 9 (of 12) songs delivering those goods, I knew I had a CD worth telling friends and family about. Since then, I’ve made it my place to be a Turnpike Troubadours ambassador.
My personal favorite of these songs, the one that first sunk the hook in me, is Whole Damn Town. This song, more than the others, conjures the Oklahoma bar scene that the band has earned their chops in — at the intersection of local cowtown and local band making good. I love the pace and vibe they conjure with their line by line recipe of Felker singing, followed by Engleman or Nix responding with their guitar or fiddle respectively.
Whole Damn Town (hear it for yourself)
The music of the Turnpike Troubadours is both refreshingly new and timeless, age immaterial. There are few artists in my library that all members of my social circles can hear and enjoy. The Troubadours bridged that gap, capturing the attention of the 20-something, Rock and Alternative leaning crowd, as well as the multiple septuagenarians who heard it. It is the only album I’ve played in years that accomplished this inter-generational feat. My hats off to the Turnpike Troubadours! Your music makes me glad to be an “Okie.” I’ll see you in September somewhere in NE Oklahoma….with the hopes of also seeing you on Country Music Television in the very near future. JDPF