Mark my words: 2018 will be the year of the Independent Outlaw and Craig Gerdes just stepped up and hit it out of the park batting lead-off.
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some of Craig Gerdes’ music in the past, and I know just how well he has adhered to the rules of classic style and outlaw country music. When I started seeing that Craig was working on a new album I was pretty excited, but it all came into focus when he released his version of the Johnny Paycheck classic “Slide Off Of Your Satin Sheets”; this guy wasn’t messing around, and boy that steel sounds very familiar! Friday night I was minutes away from dropping Craig a line to try to get an early listen of the album for the weekend, when I noticed the Guitar World article with full album sneak peak, so here I am telling you all about it.
By now you all know how deep I like to dig into independent music, particularly the indie country scene. There has been a lot of talk about this album, Craig and his Indie label (SOL Records) have done a great job creating a buzz. I was looking forward to this album, so much so that I purposely avoided any early listens of the other songs because I wanted to come into the whole album fresh. I started writing this during my first listen, and what a great album, well worth the wait.
With 'Smokin Drinkin & Gamblin' you don’t have any of the unfortunate and now-typical bullshit, this is the real deal; you have strong vocals, they aren’t covering anything up here, there is no makeup. The music is real and feels recorded live, everything I want in a country album. In a world full of overdone production and shiny products, it’s refreshing to hear something so authentic.
I am not going to break this down to each song and give it all away, to me that takes away a lot of the fun of a first listen. I will tell you that there is a great mix of all the classic country clichés and I mean that in the best way possible. I’m seeing a lot of people calling this album Outlaw Country, and it sure has plenty of that, so I guess that’s what it is; however songs like “Good Ol’ Days”, “Almost Takes My Mind Off You”, and “Almost To Alabama” are great classic country style songs. So don’t let the “Outlaw” moniker keep you from giving this album a chance if that style doesn’t always suite you, it’s not just about riding Harley’s and doing roundhouse kicks in a Roadhouse bar, its great country with an outlaw flair.
I follow Craig on social media, and he is a true road warrior, out there playing shows and building the hype for this great album. Tonight finds Craig in Ohio, and Wednesday finds him at the album release show with his SOL Records brother, Dallas Moore, in Nashville. The album releases this Friday, February 16, and Craig just signed on for the Tumbleweed Festival and Tailgates n’ Tallboys which should help build some name recognition with new fans.
As his buddy Dallas Moore says, "GIT AMONGST IT!"