Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Standoff by Casey Donahew Band

Casey Donahew Band's new album, Standoff, is a musical stand-out. Like Reckless Kelly, and fellow Texans Mickey & The Motorcars and Pat Green, Casey Donahew is not afraid to punctuate his down home storytelling with a little loud and proud electric guitar. After all, you don't put "10 Years of Ass Kickin' Country Music" on your official band t-shirts unless you're willing to back it up in your music. The set begins with thunderous, crunchy guitar licks on "Lovin Out of Control." Later, "Small Town Love" picks up where the band's critically acclaimed Double Wide Dream left off, both musically and lyrically. Reminding those who dream of big city lights that, ''What you want ain't always what you need." Casey points out the many joys of small town living. On "Whiskey Baby" Casey compares his love to another kind of Southern comfort. Singing, "My heart is just like a shot glass - empty and alone; only as good as the spirit in it, uselss on its own" Casey distills his love for his woman into 3 and half minutes of 100 proof rockin' Country. He keeps the tempo up on "Loser" and "Go to Hell." These two songs rock out with attitude and humor. In "Loser" Casey sings, "It's better to lose on love than love a loser like me." Apparently someone didn't get the message, because in "Go to Hell" he tells the story of the bitterest of breakups. Where most Country singers drown their breakups in alcohol, Casey drowns his in alcohol and then sets it on fire! While drinking his ex of his mind he sings, "When I wake up in the mornin', I'm sure I'll be in jail. And I'll be using my one phone call to remind you to go to hell."
But not everything on the album is amps and attitude. "Not Ready To Say Goodnight" is a sweet ronantic song about not wanting a date to end. "Homecoming Queen" is a look into the faded dreams and beauty of a former high school beauty queen. In trying to figure out what could've caused her fall from grace Casey sings, "When I see her now I just wonder why. I guess when things come easy you don't have to try." Casey digs even deeper into social issues on "Put The Bottle Down," which is an unflinching portrait of the ravages of alcoholism: "Too young to know this pain, but there's nowhere to hide. I probably could have run, but I stayed by my Momma's side." Casey sings of the scars and continued chain of pain caused by drinking "the devil's blood."
Behind Casey's great voice and lyrics, the band impresses throughout. With tight guitar and fiddle work and a driving rhythm section, the band, like the album itself, hits all the right notes.

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