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Rangers' Command

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Album Review

In a just world, every album coming out of Nashville's pop-country hit factories would sound just like Ranger's Command. A seamless blend of straight country, honky tonk, Western swing, '70s country-rock, and even Native American sounds, this album seems as if it was made solely for the love of music, yet remains completely accessible. The Red Dirt Rangers' ace musicianship is always in service of the song, so much so that even their Charlie Daniels Band-style cover of Prince's "1999" sounds completely natural. In fact, it's really pretty astounding how many different influences the band manages to incorporate without ever sounding inconsistent; there are bits of everything from Bob Wills and the Band to C.W. McCall and Firefall here, all played with a smooth, tight-but-loose rootsiness that at times recalls Flatt & Scruggs. Special mention should also be made of the Red Dirt Rangers' excellent songwriting, which has all the craft of top Nashville writers, yet is loads more substantive and interesting.


Formed: Stillwater, OK

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

As their name suggests, alt-country upstarts the Red Dirt Rangers are practitioners of the hard-to-define blend known as "red dirt music" (named for the reddish-brown soil of central Oklahoma and pioneered by folks such as Jimmy LaFave and Bob Childers). The group met at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and their country-rock-folk sound can fuse the disparate strands of Texas swing, Woody Guthrie, Bakersfield country, and the Grateful Dead during one performance. The Red Dirt Rangers released...
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Rangers' Command, Red Dirt Rangers
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