It’s not often that I stumble on a new (To me) artist and fall in love with an entire album. Let’s face it, most albums have a song or two that is either a dud or just OK, which is simply not the case with Jody Booth’s 2018 album ‘The Rosewood Tapes Volume One’, every song is a stone-cold killer.
This week I was doing my usual Monday listen to the Spotify’s Discover Weekly, which does a pretty decent job of pumping songs into my speakers that fit my taste. Nearly every week I can count on finding at least one artist to keep an eye on, but it is few and far between that I find one that I drop everything and listen to the artist’s whole album. It’s ever less common for that album to be so-damn-good that I sit here wondering how the hell I missed this guy before.
The great thing about honky-tonk country music is that the style never gets old and when done well the songs are timeless. There is a striking familiarity to ‘The Rosewood Tapes Volume One’; its style is classic, to the point that if you told me this album came out in 1986 or 1995 or 2003 I’d probably believe you.
Every song on this album checks off a country music box, which is what makes it so good. A great variety of pure country, this EP will be a heater for people who long for real instruments and distinct vocals. This is music for folks who say the radio isn’t what it used to be, or ask where real country has gone.
“They Found Me in a Honky Tonk” was the first song I heard; it had that air of fun and the perfect amount of country cliché without being corny. Reminiscent of Joe Diffie, this one could have easily been a song my father played way too loud on Sunday mornings during my teenage years in the 90s. Turns out this is the leading song for the EP, and a fitting one, because it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect for the rest of the album.
“Carolina” is up next and brings it down a notch, letting us know that this album is a well-rounded country gem. Many people overlook how much the layout of songs affects the quality of an album, Booth and his crew clearly didn’t miss that memo. This is my favorite song of the bunch; it drips with the kind of refined finesse usually reserved for artists like Glenn Campbell or Don Williams.
“Lonesome On’ry And Mean” is a perfect pick for a cover song, and for this album I’m not sure there was a better choice for co-conspirator than Tracy Byrd. They did it in a way that fit their styles well, while still paying great homage to THE country outlaw.
Coming in next, soft and smooth is “Hurricane”. The hurricane as a woman’s whirlwind love has been used recently to great success by Luke Combs, but this one is a bit different; I like the way it focuses more on the preparation of the inevitable and less about the in-the-moment of land fall.
“I Feel a Jones Coming On” is a fiddle driven boot stomper the whole way through. I typically don’t go for name-drop songs, probably because they tend to be used to try to authenticate a weak artist, something Booth doesn’t need to do. Because the authenticity is already there this doesn’t come across as a ploy, but rather a clever way to preach the love of the music life.
“Love as Hard as You Can” rounds out this great 6 song EP, Jody’s take on the sage-wisdom from the old timer. Again Booth takes us into the realm of country stereotype, but does it in a way that tells a story and lets us know exactly where he stands. I am a sap for these types of songs and here it is done well.
Check this album out if you long for that 90’s honky-tonk sound, this one has plenty of it, and I can’t wait to see what “VolumeTwo” has in store for us.
Find out more about Jody Booth on his Website or Facebook.
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