Preview Review Part 2! Balthrop, Alabama-Cowboy Songs

For my review of Subway Songs CLICK HERE.

Full Disclosure: I am friends with the bassist/alto saxophonist (Chris Buckridge, AKA Douglas Snead) from this band.

Yesterday, I reviewed Subway Songs , one of the two EPs that Balthrop, Alabama is dropping on March 10th. Today, I present Cowboy Songs.

This time around, Balthrop open with “Old Cowboy Queer,” a country-folk song about a gay coyboy who does not, as the joke about independent films goes, eat pudding. Instead, he sadly wanders the town, drunk and lonely, “holding hands with a glass of Jim Beam.” Balthrop, Alabama are good at storytelling songs (see also “Prom Story”), and this one is a fitting opening to this EP, even though, as you’ll soon see, it is the only song on the album that is explicitly a cowboy song. This one might be my favorite on this CD.

Next comes “Waitin’ on a Train.” The title fools one intro thinking that this wil lbe another country song, but its not. Besides a slight mock-country twang, this one is straight early sixties pop rock, and would sound at home on, say, Beatles ’65. In this one, the narrator waits for his love, who never shows up. This one’s fun, and the horn solo is great. It’s probably Balthrop’s the best use of the horn since “God Loves My Country.”

“I Look at You” is Balthrop, Alabama at their most country. On this song, Lauren really shines as the band’s Patsy Cline or Tanya Tucker, while Pascal’s voice sonds, at times, like Willie Nelson. This is an unusual song for Balthrop, as the two narrators seem to be in love without any hang ups or catastrophes!

“You Used to Love Me” is another song about love gone wrong. If you’re a fan of the stuff off of Your Big Plans, Our Little Town (which I am), you’ll like this one.

“The Butter Song” is the lightest song on the album. It’s a catchy little tune in which Pascal sings, “Tryin’ to be a little more PC/Don’t mean to be gettin’ so greasy/ but I’m gonna cover your butt with a big stick of butter!” It’s cute, yet it unfortunately evokes images of THAT scene from Last Tango in Paris. If you haven’t seen that movie, then this song is not ruined for you!

The final song really brings things to a close. “Crazy Old Sky” could almost be a sequel to “Explode!” from Your Big Plans; as the world seems to be ending, a couple looks for love. In this case, the narrator proclaims, “I’ll try to look you up tomorrow/if the world don’t end tonight.” As the end (of the song and possibly the world) draws near, everything builds to an “I Am The Walrus”-like crescendo of noise, with random conversations mingling with backmasked vocals. Like “Explode!”, this song sonds like the band was really enjoying themselves.

Overall, Cowboy Songsis great. It could be called a concept album (or EP , or whatever), but the conceptt has little to do with coyboys. It’s about love; people loving each other, love going wrong, and ulimately, a band that loves what it is doing.

Cowboy Songs will be available March 10th from End Up Records.

2 Responses to “Preview Review Part 2! Balthrop, Alabama-Cowboy Songs”

  1. […] Balthrop, Alabama has released 2 albums and 3 Eps (Read my review of two of those EPs HERE and HERE. In 2005, Chris released a solo EP called Vessels, and in 2007, the Ne’er Do Evers released […]

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