The Turnpike Troubadours Self Titled Album
The Turnpike Troubadours Self Titled Album
By Tonya Little
OKLAHOMA CITY- The Turnpike Troubadours have gone and done it again, putting out a collection of songs that seemingly get better and better the longer they play together. Clearly the Troubadours have been out there living, loving and learning in the three years since their last album was released, and that growth and experience shows through on this new one. The guys play incredibly well and smoothly together, the songs are all tight, something that comes no doubt from playing countless shows together through the years. These good ol’ Oklahoma boys have done well for themselves. They are a nationally recognized and touring band, and it’s nice to see them pay homage to their Oklahoma roots through songs like “The Mercury” and the rerelease of “Easton and Main”. Two days after the new album released the troubadours played a sold out show at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin where front man Evan Felker said it was “not bad for a bar band from Oklahoma”. Not bad at all fellas. The mark of great music is that it makes you feel something, it draws up on your emotions and takes you on a ride. The Troubadours definitely know how to make good music, these songs make you feel something.
“The Bird Hunters” kicks off the album, Evan Felker’s soulful voice, smooth as honey, walks us through what on the surface appears to be just a hunting trip with a couple of lifelong friends, but delves a bit deeper to reveal a story of lost love tinged with a bit of regret. It’s a waltz, a slow and melancholy tune that you almost can’t help but to sway back and forth with. Kyle Nix kills it on the fiddle as always.
They kick it up a few notches next with “The Mercury” which is a shout out to the venue in Tulsa. It also brings back the Troubadour’s colorful characters Lorrie and Jimmy, from previous songs. Which I think is brilliant, not only because it ties the other albums together with this one, but it also makes it like an ongoing story, just additional chapters for these characters. It’s a fast paced, rockin’ song that has a definite rockabilly vibe. It’s gritty and in your face, with a slick guitar solo, definitely makes you want to get up and dance.
“Down Here” comes next, which is a good ol’ country song, it’s uplifting and straightforward. It comes from the perspective from a lifelong friend offering advice to someone who seems to be straying from the path; the kind of friend that always has your back but are also willing to call you out when need be. I think we’ve all probably been on at least one side or the other in that situation and perhaps even both, which makes it easily relatable.
“Time of Day” comes shining through, not quite a love song, but dancing around the edges of that realm. “I’ll give you every bit of my spending money, give me just a minute of your time of day,” sings Felker, pleading with the “hillbilly girl” he describes. Again the fiddle just shines through, rounding out the song, which has a touch of a bluegrass feel to it.
Next comes “Ringing in the Year” a song filled with longing and a bit of regret, of lost love and moving on. It’s a sorrowful tune, with a strong lead guitar. It almost has a southern rock feel to it, which keeps it interesting with the varied sounds of the songs.
“A Little Song” is a sweet love song, simple and almost whimsical. It’s a song asking for another chance, of learning and growing and realizing what you have before it’s gone. The song is stripped down, it’s not adorned with all of the different instrumentals that have been a mark of most of their songs. It’s just an unembellished acoustic sound, which is perfect for this candid and honest love song. Sometimes the most genuine sentiments are simple and straightforward.
“Long Drive Home” follows, and it’s got a heartbreaking and sorrowful feeling to it. It’s a slowed down country tune, a good one to two step to. It’s about being in the throes of love and all of its complications that come from being together for a good long time. “We’ve got a long drive home” in the chorus is clearly not just talking about an actual drive, but the journey you sometimes have to take to get back to being in love. “A love you come by easy it’ll leave you just the same, you want something bad you gotta bleed a little for it, you gotta look it in the eye and call it out by name,” croons Felker, which is about as real as you can get. The depths and harsh realities of the lyrics are dead on, and make you feel the anguish behind the words.
Another song paying tribute to Oklahoma is “Easton & Main”, which was on their debut album back in 2007, written by bassist R.C Edwards. The song is about Cain’s Ballroom. It opens slowly and builds up, it’s a song about falling in love with a girl and the city from a simple country boy’s perspective. It’s got a great beat and steady rhythm, and is a good song to twirl your lady around the dance floor to. It’s reminiscent of old school country songs from decades ago.
“7 Oaks” follows and it was also written by R.C., it’s a jumping song that makes you want to clap your hands and stomp your feet. It’s a great down home jamboree song, with a fantastic mix of fiddle, harmonica and keys that drive it home. It’ll get you up and moving for sure.
“Doreen” comes next, which is an Old 97’s cover. The Troubadours weave their distinct flavor into the song. It’s a rapid paced tune, almost manic, about an equally fast gal.
“Fall out of Love” switches gears and slows us way back down, a heartbreaking song that I think anyone can relate to. It was written by R.C. as well. It’s a slow, mournful tune about the tragedies of falling out of love. It has some excellent symbolism comparing love to a high risk game of cards, which isn’t far from the truth. The tune pulls on your heart strings, it’s enough to make you shed a tear or two.
“Bossier City” wraps it all up, which is a song from their debut album. It’s a lively song about a guy with a gambling habit, following him on a trip to Bossier City and his attempt to hide it from his lady. It’s a fun song, full of everything that made us all love the Troubadours to begin with.
If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of this yet, I suggest you do so. It’s got a great variety of songs, and doesn’t disappoint.