As best as I can tell.
This is a fucking excellent record.
I could stop at that, and have the most accurate record review ever written. Or I could add that a record hasn’t made me want to guzzle whiskey this much since Decoration Day. Or that I can’t decide which is more perfect, the songwriting, the playing or the (fantastic) arrangements. One thing I’ve learned as a songwriter is that there’s a lot of sausage making in the recording studio. I’ve had songs evolve into excellent songs and I’ve had songs devolve into horrible songs, all thanks to the way they’re arranged and played. Whoever made the sausage on this record is a master chef of boozy, alt. country, rocking ear cuisine.
Want a taste?
“My momma used to tell me to buck up. I guess I’m just too much of a fuck up.” And it gets better. Holy shit.
The studio version of Sidelong is just as excellent as I expected. It’s a whisky-fueled lament to everything that might have been OK, and everything that wasn’t. Dwight Yoakam is a slow burning alt. country number that lives up to its anxious namesake. “She left me nothing but heartache and tears. She took every last one of my good years.” Yep.
There’s more, but I’ll just finish with a thought that stayed in my head the first time I listened to this record. In this day of pop-sounding, watered-down country music and computer-generated, auto-tuned gibberish on the radio, we should all be thankful that there are young folks out there making music like this.