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by Chuck Mead
20 years give or take from the hey day of BR549, Chuck Mead has put together a pretty solid discography. He's got some big name day jobs like directing the music for Million Dollar Quarter and supervising the soundtrack to CMT's Sun Records series, but he is making some great music. His band is the excellently named Grassy Knoll Boys. He's teamed up here with Matt Ross-Spang who's worked with Lori McKenna, Jason Isbell, Margo Price and the Drive By Truckers, as well as being given the keys to the Elvis Presley 1976 Jungle Room sessions by Sony Music.

Mead isn't that far away from BR549, but it is a bit different beast. Once again, the touchpoints are 1950s (not to mention pre-WW2) country music, with rockabilly and other roots influences.

Mead probably doesn't get enough attention, because he doesn't neatly fit in the Steve Earle/Isbell/Sturgill side of Outlaw Country, nor does he quite fit in with the Wilco/Ryan Adams Americana. This is very traditional country in a way country has been played in years. Not too many people are making this style of music. There's even more of a Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds bent to his sound than any modern alt-country artist.

What I like is how solid this album is. There are dozens and dozens of great singer-songwriters, but Mead is as consistent as any of them. He has a humorous side but it's with a smirk- "Daddy worked the (telephone) pole, so Mam wouldn't have to" is one of those lines. Yet, his lyrics are well grounded in workingman blues.

This is a really solid album that probably should get some looks, but won't because my explanation above. If you liked BR549, but didn't think it was worth pursuing the post-band careers, here's a good start.
2019 - Plowboy
Posted: 28th October 2019
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