Friday, December 6, 2013

Album Review: Often Wrong, Never In Doubt by The Deadfields

It's an early Christmas present for music fans! The Deadfields' second album, Often Wrong, Never in Doubt is now available for your enjoyment. And these guys definitely put the JOY in enjoyment. For such a somber sounding band name, The Deadfields play an infectious, joyful brand of Americana. Or as they call it, "Foot Stompin' Hand Clappin' Knee Slappin' Ruckus Rowsin' Americana Rock!"

Often Wrong But Never In Doubt picks up where their 2012 release Dance In The Sun left off. Back are the beautiful "Seven Bridges Road" - type harmonies, the tight musical arrangements, and the catchy, "can't stop singing along even if you try" hooks. But it doesn't take long to notice a difference in the lyrical tone on this album. No longer content to "Be Your Fool," The Deadfields begin this album with "Cuttin' Ties," where they sing, "You're never satisfied, you don't care how hard I try. So you can find yourself another fool whose pockets you can dip into. Girl with you, I'm cuttin' ties."

They continue their more assertive attitude on "Often Wrong, Never  In Doubt," singing "I don't need no darn directions, I'm the man behind the wheel." And in "This Night (Never Ends)" they tell their lover to leave them alone so they can party all night. But even as they demand independence, they do it with a smile, and the uptempo rhythms play counterpoint to the defiance of the lyrics.

Finally, in "Let It Rain" the music catches up with the lyrics. With a bluesier, grittier sound, they sing "I'm turning this corner with you. I'm turning this corner. Don't be there when I do." Although not quite ominous, the music definitely underscores the seriousness of the lyrics.

But the Deadfields haven't given up on love entirely. In "The Spark" they give up their wild ways to settle down, singing "the spark of my heart is all yours." In the touching ballad, "Good Enough" they try to reconcile their need for love and independence ("I'll never be anyone else but me... I pray it's good enough for you." And finally, in "Keep Me Clean" they celebrate love's power to redeem and transform, singing "For 30 years he had no reason to keep the poison from his veins... but she painted blue from the sky and wiped the mud from his eyes. How the broken man cries: 'hold me up, I'm sinkin', I'm so damn weak. Without you - just a dirty fool is all I'll ever be. But you keep me clean.'"

There are a couple good rockers on the album as well - the rollicking road song "The Road Beckons,"  the anti-small talk "If It Don't Matter," and the do-your-own-thing anthem, "The Joneses."  And if you've ever wondered what Nirvana would sound like as a bluegrass band, you're in luck because their cover of "No Apologies" answers that question (and the combination works surprisingly well!)

The Deadfields bring enthusiasm and artistry to every track on the album. Not as shallow as Nashville nor as cynical as Austin, The Deadfields don't make music to make a buck or to tell somebody off; they make music for the best reason of all - they love it, and it shows! And if even if they're "Often Wrong," you can bet it wasn't when they were in the studio!

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