What is Jay Listening To?
Not too long ago I remember going to an FYE or local music store to buy an album the day it came out. The car ride over, mostly done by my mother or friend’s mom, was full of anticipation and excitement. Would that new album be good, or be some experimental new music from your favorite band? What kind of free stuff would the artist include in the packaging? The experience was very similar to Christmas morning.
Last night at midnight I found myself in the same situation. This time the car was my bed, the record store was my phone, and the excitement was the anticipation of the brand new album from my new favorite band Midland. The first time I heard their hit “Drinkin’ Problem” on the radio, I was hooked. Their three-part harmonies, incredibly authentic outfits, and the bending of the guitar strings gave me twangy chills.
The clock struck twelve midnight, I was just about to doze off, when Midland reminded via Twitter, it was time for "On the Rocks." "On the Rocks" follows the theme of “Drinkin Problem” of just a laid-back country band singing about their day to day.
Going through this new album was a roller coaster ride of traditional country mixed in with some modern-day themes. Midland continues their smart word play throughout the track listing especially on their cut “Altitude Adjustment” where they tell us a story about going from Tennessee to Colorado and wanting to be John Denver, and “reach new heights.”
Their next radio single “Make a Little” is also featured on "On the Rocks," and it’s the honkiest of tonkiest tracks I’ve heard in a while. There’s a whole bunch of slide guitar and toe tapping in this one, and currently has me bopping up and down at my desk as I write this.
My absolute favorite song on this album is “Check Cashin’ Country,” a song about how country artists aren’t in the business for the money or fame, they’re in it to play music for us. The narrative of the song reminds me of an old time western or Clint Eastwood movie, just a bunch of outlaws living life on the road rocking out.
Midland has one of the most unique sounds on country radio right now. Its hard to pin down a central sound as they evoke some vocals like Keith Whitley, sing smoothly like George Strait, lay down some guitar riffs like Dwight Yoakam, and party like true cowboys.
I like to rate my musical taste on “driving songs.” Basically, if a song is great for a road trip or a nice day to cruise around, and "On the Rocks" covers them both. I would highly recommend checking out Midland’s brand new album this weekend with a few cold ones and the sun shining bright.