Darryl Lee Rush, Live From the River Road Icehouse

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April 3, 2008

Darryl Lee Rush
Live From the River Road Icehouse
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Darryl Lee Rush hails from Markham, a small farming town in South Central Texas. His roots are proudly referenced in his second recording effort entitled Live From The River Road Icehouse. As one might assume, this is a live album that was recorded at the River Road Icehouse, in New Braunfels, Texas. However, in addition to the live performances, there are two studio recordings that bookend the project, which are absolutely worth listening to as well.

Rush has an energetic, engaging performing style that is rather evident on this album. His simple, but interesting, songs and his amusing storytelling ability that is reminiscent of a southern Garrison Keillor or a fast talking Forrest Gump, as can be heard on “Town Too Tough To Die”, makes this recording a worthwhile album to add to your music collection.

The album opens with “Lot” one of the two studio recordings. It describes the bleak lot, or situation, of an impoverished woman. It’s good, but the other studio track, “Shotgun Annie”, is even better—possibly the best cut on the album. With its driving guitar riff and the inclusion of a sampling of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, “Shotgun Annie” explores the devastating effects that accompany the growth of a nation. He sings, “You know there’s blood on our hands and there’s dirt upon our faces/Forgive us all our sins and grand divine salvation/For the blood we spill as we build this brand new nation.”

The only songs on this album that were not penned by Rush are “Irrelevant”, “Truale” and Steve Earle’s “Johnny Come Lately.” Something about the performance of “Irrelevant” reminds me of Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. The cover of Earle’s “Johnny Come Lately” possesses the rowdy energy of the original, which works rather well for the over all sound of the album. “Truale”, which can be found on his first album, prompts the crowd to join in.

A notable aspect of this recording is Rush’s odd humor, which is evident in “Uncle Freddie’s Tractor” and “White Trash Paradise.” “Uncle Freddie’s Tractor” seems to be a crowd favorite. He introduces it by asking “You wanna hear Uncle Freddie?” and the modest crowd answers with enthusiastic cheers, as if they are quite aware of what is to come. If they haven’t heard the song before, they sure play along well. The song, complete with an impressive harmonica intro (the harmonica is a prominent part of Rush’s band), is simply about watching his Uncle Freddie’s tractor going back and forth. While the lyrics have no redeeming value, it’s sung with simple infectious charm. “White Trash Paradise” is a razor sharp composition that playfully pokes fun at the life of a stereotypical redneck.

Although Darryl Lee Rush may not have the most polished voice, he possesses the necessary sincerity and charisma to turn his music into a rather enjoyable listening experience that will surely garner a loyal and passionate fan following. It is quite evident from the energy that exudes from this live recording that going to one of his shows would be well worth your money. If you are hoping for an album with profound revelations or groundbreaking lyrical content, this album is not for you. Furthermore, if you want an album that will neatly fit onto mainstream country radio, I advise that you don’t pick this one up. However, if you’re simply interested in some good roadhouse style music, sung by a talented artist who is supported by an incredible band, then this is most definitely the album for you.

Buy: Live From the River Road Icehouse

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  1. Leeann's Husband says:

    I enjoyed this as well, not sure if I would go with 3 Stars or 3.5 Stars myself, but he is definately an excellent live performer and ‘Shotgun Annie’ is a mix CD worthy song. I did wish the live recording was just a little better technically, but overall I think it it broke even because it did capture the feel of the show.

    Couple songs can be found here so if you have not heard it:
    http://www.pidges.com/darrylleerush.php

  2. BradyNo Gravatar says:

    Good review, Leeann, I haven’t heard the album yet, but I enjoyed his first one. I believe he was the first artist shined to Shiner Records, which is a sister label of Palo Duro Records, another label putting out a lot of good Texas music. If you like the rockin’ country stuff, Shiner has another band called “Miles From Nowhere” that’s pretty good and Brody recommended their other band, Lost Immigrants, early last year.

    Oh, and Bill Whitbeck, the bass player for Robert Earl Keen, wrote a song called “There’s Only One S In New Braunfels.” ;) It’s a popular mistake that drives all the natives crazy =P

  3. [...] you want some good roadhouse style music from a talented artist and an incredible band then Country Universe’s Leeann recommends checking out Darryl Lee [...]

  4. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Brady, thanks for the recommendation. Also, thanks for your very diplomatic correction. I’m impressed.

    Bill, I was originally going to mention the recording quality, but I stopped noticing it after the first listen, really. It’s not a slick live recording where everything is cleaned up, but rather, it’s a more authentic recording for that reason, I think.

  5. Paul SmithNo Gravatar says:

    I saw these guys perform at the Texas Music Revolution (TMR 12) in Dallas. This is a fantastic band. They do it right. The CD is a fun rollicking good time. I don’t know if I have had a better driving CD in awful long time. It ends too soon.

    Paul

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