Album Review: On The Rocks by Midland

Every once in awhile I’ll play a new song on the radio that will pique my interest.  It might be the sound, the music, the lyrics or a combination of the three that will have me searching out other songs by that particular artist or group.

That was the case when I first heard Drinkin’ Problem by the country trio Midland.  It had a retro 70ish vibe to it that reminded me of the songs my parents would listen to when I was young… but with a modern twist.  I’ve heard them described as California Country and I’d agree.

Midland’s sound is made up of tight harmonies and traditional country instrumentation… including plenty of steel guitar with a little tambourine mixed in for good measure.

Throughout the On The Rocks album, I was reminded of The Eagles, Alabama, Blackhawk, Restless Heart, The Mavericks, and Dwight Yoakum… some of my favorites.  I’d even go so far as to say I could even hear parts of songs that gave a nod to Air Supply and Chicago.

On The Rocks is one of those rare albums for me that you can listen to from beginning to end, over and over, and never want to skip a single song.  It’s that good!  It’s easily in my top 5 favorite country albums of 2017.

Below are some of my thoughts on every one of the 13 songs on the On The Rocks album.

On The Rocks

Lonely For You Only – The first song of the album sets the tone for what is to follow… lots of steel guitar, harmony, loneliness, and heartbreak in a 3:50 song.

Make A Little – This one is just plain fun!  If I knew how to dance to country music I bet this would be a great one to dance to.

Drinkin’ Problem – As mentioned before, this particular song and it’s sound is what got me interested in Midland in the first place.   More harmony and steel guitar.

At Least You Cried – This one has a Spanish feel to it with a great horn section!

Burn Out – The lyrics of this song are what I appreciate the most. They’re very descriptive… to the point where listening to it I can picture a music video for it in my head.  Here’s an example:

“Just watchin’ rivers run
Down the side of my bottle
Almost like it’s cryin’ my tears
Had the world on a string
And then I lost everything
And that’s how I wound up here
Watchin’ cigarettes burn out
‘Til all the neon gets turned out…”

Out Of Sight – There are some pretty clever lyrics in this one that keep it from being a cliche break-up country song.

More Than A Fever – Sexy and sultry with a touch of falsetto.

Check Cashin’ Country – This is one of my favorite songs on the album!  It depicts life on the road for a band struggling to make it.

Nothin’ New Under The Neon – This one’s about friendships and reminiscing over a few drinks.

This Old Heart – If you’ve ever wished for a little luck and a little love you’ll be able to relate to this one.

Altitude Adjustment – This is another one of my favorite songs on the album because it’s so clever in the way it’s written.

Sure, you might hear references to certain substances that are legal in Colorado… but the next person might just take it as feeling relief and refreshed from a change of scenery.   This song gets bonus points because it makes me smile every time they reference John Denver.

Electric Rodeo – Another song about the quest for stardom and the loneliness that comes with it.

Somewhere On The Wind – The album ends the way it began… with a traditional sound.  A lonesome sounding harmonica breaks into harmony and then into a rambling country song.

What’s your favorite on Midland’s On The Rocks album?

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Random Thoughts While Saturday Morning Grocery Shopping

Every Saturday morning I take my oldest to ballet class.  While she dances I’ve got two hours and fifteen minutes to look at all the grocery ads, make a meal plan for the week, and shop for what we need.

Since I have the time, I shop two different grocery stores getting the best deals at each.  This morning while shopping I had lots of random thoughts pop into my head.  I figured I’d share a few with you.

Random Thoughts While Saturday Morning Grocery Shopping

  • The high temp is 52 degrees.  52! In December… in Iowa.  If you chose today to ring a Salvation Army bell you got lucky!
  • If I ever need adult diapers I’m ordering them online.  They’re not going in my cart at the grocery store.  Besides, the grocery store is probably the most expensive place to buy them.
  • $2.99 for a 6 pack of Sidecar Orange Pale Ale.  Never had it but I’ll try it.  How bad can it be?  To be honest, I’m not expecting much since they have a huge stack and knocked six bucks off the original price.
  • Seriously, lady.  It’s a pack of bacon.  It’s already been inspected.  Grab one and get out of the way.  You’re causing a traffic jam.
  • You’re writing a check? Who writes checks anymore?
  • I’m not seeing the Cranberry 7Up.  Did they not make any this holiday season?
  • Buying all this food for our Christmas picnic makes me wish Christmas was tomorrow.
  • No, I don’t wish Christmas was tomorrow.  There’s still a lot of planning, preparing, and shopping to do.
  • Glad we bought our Rolos early this year. They seem to be running low.
  • When was the last time I wrote a check? It’s been awhile.
  • Yeah.  That’s right, old couple who remembered me from last week.  We’re on the same shopping schedule.  Let’s meet again in the bread aisle next week.
  • I love how Hy-Vee is getting into the Christmas Spirit with their red and green colored checkout lights. 
  • Every time I hear Feliz Navidad I don’t think of Christmas. I think of tacos.
  • This weather is crazy! The sun is shining.  There’s no snow.  People are wearing shorts and I’m a tad warm in this hoodie.
  • I’ve always wanted to cook a prime rib roast but have been scared away by the cost.  I’d hate to mess up a $50 cut of meat that I’ve never made before.
  • Fareway always has the nicest people to bag your groceries and take them to your car.  I think I would’ve liked that for a job in high school.
  • I don’t even know where our checkbook is.
  • Do we need almond bark? I bet we do.  I’m only getting one package to make dipped pretzels this year.  I remember how I’m always excited to make them but realize on the 5th pretzel how boring and tedious of a job it is.
  • Anyone that’s wearing a Santa hat today is cool in my book.  Unless it’s a Santa hat with your NFL team’s colors.  Then it’s not Christmasy.  It’s just a silly looking hat.
  • Wow! If you get that dressed up to grocery shop on a Saturday morning I wonder what you wear to church on Sunday.
  • How can eggs be 99 cents one week and 2.39 the next?
  • Wait. I think our checkbook is in my wife’s purse.

What random thoughts have you had while grocery shopping?

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Weekly Verse – Feeling Blessed

Each year at this time I’m reminded just how lucky and blessed I really am.  You see, earlier this week my radio station had our 19th Annual Radiothon for Variety.

It’s a two-day event where we raise money for the Compassion Fund.  It’s a fund that social workers, doctors, and nurses at local hospitals have direct access to when they see a patient/family in need.

Over the course of the two days, we heard and shared story after story of what those needs might be.  One particular story struck me a little harder than the rest.

It was of a family with a very sick child in the hospital.  The mother loses her job because she’s staying with the kid in the hospital.  The father keeps working and staying at their home more than an hour away.  Money gets tight.  There isn’t enough money for gas for regular trips to the hospital, and they can’t pay their cell phone bill.

I can’t even imagine that! To have a sick child would be terrible.  To not be able to be there would be hard enough… but to not have a way to keep in contact with them through it all is unimaginable.  The Compassion Fund covered their cell bill for a month or two.

At the end of the radiothon I was counting my blessings.  My kids are healthy, my wife and I have jobs, and our listeners raised $119,081.  God is good.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him. – Jeremiah 17:7 NIV

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