Posts Tagged ‘Josh Abbott Band’

Single Review: Kacey Musgraves, "Merry Go 'Round"

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A delicious, absorbing slice of country storytelling, flavored with a strong dose of everyday realism.

While Musgraves has been relatively quiet on the music front in days since her 2007 seventh-place finish on Nashville Star, she has tided fans over with projects such as an excellent collaboration with the Josh Abbott band, while also displaying her ample songwriting chops with standout cuts on recent albums by Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride.  “Merry Go Round” marks her first official solo radio release, with an album to follow later this year.

The quiet, banjo-driven arrangement supplies a beautiful, comforting backdrop to an astute lyric which contrasts idealistic personal and societal expectations with the way life actually turns out.  The course of one’s life is metaphorically described as “this broken merry go round.”  People are expected to settle down, raise a family, “be there in the front row like you’re s’posed to” at church every Sunday morning, only to stumble

and struggle in daily battles with hardship, temptation, and personal demons.  Anchored by an evocative melody and an authentic, lived-in vocal rendering on Musgraves part, “Merry Go Round” is a song that boasts a strong, tangible connection to the realities people face everyday – a country music ideal that seems to have been mostly abandoned by the mainstream.

While I have a hard time believing this song is likely to find a home on country radio, it’s certainly well worth a listen.  If such a finely polished, understative gem as this is at all indicative of the quality of Musgraves forthcoming debut album, we could be in for quite a treat.

Grade:  A

 

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

Wednesday, April 27th, 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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