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.