Buster Bledsoe Band - Don't Stop
Looking at promo shots of the Buster Bledsoe Band might be enough to confirm a Brit's worst nightmare. The accent isn't excessive, but there is a Stetson hat and they probably drink Budweiser, but as far as I can tell there is none of this "The South Will Rise Again" shit. The opening two tracks presage a road trip of some sort in some weirdly decorated car heading to Mexico or somewhere. But already, even after such a short time, one's British prejudices are beginning to be slowly dismantled (the Stetson apart).
In fact, there is something almost endearing about the music. We might not have the long, empty straight roads of say Texas (and we certainly don't have the weather to put the top down all that often) but if we did, this well could be the sort of music which would find a welcome place on the in-car CD: something everyone can enjoy, something which isn't going to offend anyone. Singalong lyrics, steady rhythms and some nice twangy guitars. Yep, this is something that will please the passengers - at least until we encounter the narrow twisting lanes of some Cotswold village.
Therein lies this album's greatest strength, and perhaps its greatest weakness, at least from a British point of view. Take the title track for a start. Probably the best on the album, it offers everything that anyone could wish for and yet is thoroughly enjoyable. To a Brit for whom the epitome of catchy music is late eighties jangle pop, then this is what I would imagine the ideal American take on it would be, just love that echoed steel-guitar twanging out those minor key notes. Add in some male harmonies and a chorus which invites even the most jaded music fan to singalong, and you have the perfect track for a summer's day. And then it is spoilt by the song immediately after which which seems to conform to every stereotype of country rock - she's a saint, I'm a bastard and she must be a real dumbass to stick with me. Talk about Stand by Your Man Tammy.
So perhaps you can see my problem here. There are songs which really hit the spot, and there are others which just push all the wrong buttons. Nothing wrong with the quality of the songwriting, the performances or the competency of the musicians or producers. It's just that I look silly in a Stetson, don't wear leather boots, loathe Budweiser, don't have two hungry kids and a crop in the field so I cannot relate to Louise. When this is enjoyable it is good fun and great to listen to it. I am just not the person who can listen to this for too long and that is down to my prejudices and my problem, rather than Buster Bledsoe and his mates. Maybe if we met up we could reach common ground. At least I could buy each of the band some decent beer.
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