11 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a windswept Great Plains feel to Turnpike Troubadours’ songs, heard in the moody content of their lyrics and the finely honed quality of their musicianship. With their third album, Goodbye Normal Street, the Oklahoma combo edge further toward mainstream country while retaining their Dustbowl-bred authenticity. Lead singer/songwriter Evan Felker excels at portraits of troubled lovers, ragged vagabonds, and hard-pressed common folk, all rendered with a mix of grit and delicacy worthy of Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons. The band taps into Appalachian balladry on “Gin, Smoke, Lies,” takes a whack at folk-rock on “Morgan Street,” and spices up some hard country with Cajun seasoning on “Quit While I’m Ahead.” “Southwestern Son” and “Blue Star” stand out for their subtle, telling sketches of American fighting men. Rousing tunes like “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” are balanced by mournful numbers like “Gone Gone Gone” and “Empty Like a Drum.” Jamie Wilson lends her honeyed vocals to “Call a Spade a Spade,” a cheater’s duet in the best George ‘n’ Tammy tradition.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s a windswept Great Plains feel to Turnpike Troubadours’ songs, heard in the moody content of their lyrics and the finely honed quality of their musicianship. With their third album, Goodbye Normal Street, the Oklahoma combo edge further toward mainstream country while retaining their Dustbowl-bred authenticity. Lead singer/songwriter Evan Felker excels at portraits of troubled lovers, ragged vagabonds, and hard-pressed common folk, all rendered with a mix of grit and delicacy worthy of Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons. The band taps into Appalachian balladry on “Gin, Smoke, Lies,” takes a whack at folk-rock on “Morgan Street,” and spices up some hard country with Cajun seasoning on “Quit While I’m Ahead.” “Southwestern Son” and “Blue Star” stand out for their subtle, telling sketches of American fighting men. Rousing tunes like “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” are balanced by mournful numbers like “Gone Gone Gone” and “Empty Like a Drum.” Jamie Wilson lends her honeyed vocals to “Call a Spade a Spade,” a cheater’s duet in the best George ‘n’ Tammy tradition.

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