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.