Single Review: Josh Abbott Band feat. Kacey Musgraves, “Oh, Tonight”

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April 27, 2011

The Texas-bred Josh Abbott Band scored its first Billboard-charting single earlier this year with “Oh, Tonight,” featuring former Nashville Star contestant Kacey Musgraves.

Like a slightly unpolished Miranda Lambert, Musgraves spends the song trading conflicted thoughts with Abbott about giving into suppressed feelings. Their final agreement to “set the world on fire” sounds enticingly splashy against the otherwise simplistic lyrics.

The real fire behind the song, though, is Abbot and Musgraves’ unspoken organic chemistry. They lay out their desire more coolly than, say, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, but they perform with just enough urgency and rough-around-the-edges honesty to get under your skin. The unassuming acoustic arrangement serves as a soothing complement to their interplay, creating a vibe that feels sweet and primal all at once.

Ultimately, it’s tension that fuels their chemistry – Abbott and Musgraves tread realistically between pride and instinct, caution and reckless abandon. There’s a rugged believability to Abbott rationally delivering “so tell me what you want me to do” in one breath and hastily throwing it out in the next: “Oh, it’s too late baby/I’ve already fallen in love with you.”

How refreshing to hear a moment of passion in modern country music treated so gently and so effectively, without theatrics. Here’s to hoping “Oh, Tonight” serves as a reminder that sometimes raw emotion is better left to breathe –-and shine– on its own.

Written by Josh Abbott & Sunny Helms

Grade: B+

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12 Comments

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  1. GatorNo Gravatar says:

    Wow! How earnest and accessible you can feel the emotion in each word they sing! Plus with an identifiably country sound “Oh, Tonight” is great! Hopefully radio will pick this up and country can get a little bit more interesting again. :)

  2. GatorNo Gravatar says:

    scratch that last radio part.. sadly it only made it to 59.. stupid radio..

  3. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry about that, Gator. The single was released back in January, but I felt the urge to review it.

  4. bobNo Gravatar says:

    Good review. Good song. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it only made it to #59. I really liked another song that may have been released about the same time, David Bradley’s “Hard Time Movin’ On” featuring Rodney Crowell. As far as I know, it never reached the top 40.

  5. GatorNo Gravatar says:

    Tara it’s fine you turned me on to a great song. Just makes me sad to see it not do very well

  6. kellyNo Gravatar says:

    ^^^

    Actually the song held the #1 spot for 2 weeks straight on the Texas Music Chart.. and was “Song of the year” on Texas Regional Radio Report.

    Then, it made it to CMT.com’s #1 spot and on the homepage after the video released a few weeks ago..

    Advice: don’t always get your info from wikipedia ;)

  7. Matt BNo Gravatar says:

    Kelly,

    Most country fans outside of texas wouldn’t know what Texas Regional Radio Report or Texas Music Chart are.

    There are some folks who’d only acknowledge the cult of Billboard too.

  8. Hi really enjoyed reading your article and was wondering Song > Impact & Resist feat Lisa Abbott – Someday?

  9. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    Though I’d mention belatedly that ever since this review brought “Oh, Tonight” to my attention, I can’t stop listening to this song. :)

  10. GatorNo Gravatar says:

    I’d second that Ben

  11. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    It really is addicting.

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