The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 21; Get Me A Stetson

written by @coombstw

My music taste is very eclectic and is like a river of lava, slowly moving from one place to another taking on everything in its path.  This is partly due to being a music reviewer for many years so it has bounced around quite a bit. I have moved from pop, rock, trance, hip hop, metal, back to rock, jazz and back again.  I now have settled on liking what I like no matter the genre, but one genre I had never gone near was country, but in the last month or so Country currently dominates my Spotify.

What may have kicked of this new love of country rock was seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd live at Wembley in July and I had started to listen to heavy side of blues more often with some swagger filled riffs.  So a natural progression and sidestep from this is Country Rock which sits on the fence between genres. The fun that this style seems to come from, with songs about the standard love and loss, but done in a different way, like the song “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs, it is fun, full of great riffs and hooks and a chorus to die for and only works on that southern country sound.

I am not one to start digging into the history of a genre because I start listening to it, I just slowly move around Spotify making huge playlists of my favourite songs. I gave up albums years ago as I always find I like 40-60% of songs on an album and hate the others, so now I pick the tracks I like to save them.  The types of songs I am listening to are the upbeat part of the country genre even if about sadder notes. I have picked a few of my favorites within my ever building playlist and I want to share these with you understand my new love of country music.

Kicking off with ‘Somebody To Thank’ by Logan Mize, the song hits on my childhood memories in the chorus. But it is about the fact that we all have people to thank in our lives.  This has classic country written all over it. The modern percussion is deep and what pulled me in, the simple riff that flows through out is heartfelt and the chorus is heartwarming, so win win.

I can’t help but love this next one, ‘White Trash Story’ by Casey Donahew, it is a story of is mate and growing up as so called “White Trash”, I like it as quite funny and catchy and is based around a very real life.  It follows many Country standards but that is the point of country and what makes it country, it would be like Blues without any Blues riffs, it is just isn’t Country without the Country.

My third track is ‘Buy Me A Boat’ by Chris Janson, the main reason is I like the gravel voice of Janson, the song is fun and catchy, you can sign along, it has the standards and is just a great song.  This guy knows his style that is for sure and this being the title track off the first full length album he did through Warner. The track has some electric guitar running through, and though even though simple which I find with Country it really picks you up.

My final track makes me think of Sons of Anarchy, the biker TV show, it is more on the rock side than the others, plus it has a great title.  ‘Pour Whiskey on My Grave’ by Jacob Bryant. I have a few of Bryant's songs in my Country playlist with his style sitting on the Country Blues divide it hits many of my music taste likes.  It has some great grimy riffs giving it a true dark and moody sound.

All these tracks are on Spotify so go and check them out and let me know if you are receiving them with open arms or you really won’t be putting on the Stetson anytime soon.