Texan group prove that the future and the past can coexist.
By day, Texan Grady Spencer is a superintendent for a commercial construction company; at other times, he is a member of The Work. The band was initially formed in 2013 on the stage of Paradox Church in Fort Worth, Texas. The band has undergone several line-up changes, but they are currently Johnny Hatcher on bass and vocals, Tyler Martin on guitar, and Blake Sager on drums. ‘Wait‘ is their fourth album, which falls after their self-produced debut ‘Sleep‘ of 2013, sophomore release ‘The Line Between‘ of 2016 on Magnolia Records, and ‘Celebrate‘ from 2018.
The album comes out swinging. From the first string of the guitar being plucked and the first note is sung, it’s evident that this sound is precisely what the band’s Facebook said it would be “Old fashioned and new fashioned. Simultaneously.“. It is Country. It is so Country it could be satire, but this album is different because the lyrics have been significantly updated. There are no ballads, outlaw songs, songs about regretful drinking, or even love loss. In their place is an album that captures the zeitgeist of four woke young Texans who work hard and look after their mental health.
‘Therapy’s Good‘ is a rollicking upbeat number about getting help to weather the storms of mental health difficulty. The song incorporates all the usual Southern imagery and religious elements; only it’s a candid song about it being acceptable to get professional help if that works for you. Lyrics like “Moral of my little story, find someone who knows the craft, and when it starts feeling stormy, time to jump friend and find a raft” begin to normalise healthy mental practice in a place rarely seen.
The two singles ‘Take me Away Now.‘ and ‘Grown‘ are soulful and fun and showcase the traditional close harmonies and the rhythmic guitar, which harks back to country-rock of the 80s and alt-country of the 90s. Like almost every song on the album, the names do not indicate the chorus lyrics; the song structures are all refreshingly non-traditional compositions. The guitar
‘Good Ol’ Days‘ is a dangerously political song that skirts the line between Left and Right in a tour of modern government distrust. It would be easy to mistake this song for a nostalgia fest. The music manages to capture the zeitgeist of Post-Trump America. “You got to bow down to the almighty dollar, and I just want to stand up and holler“. It is a relevant song that touches on online privacy issues, the pressures of social media, and big corporations. Repeatedly using the Southern phrase “Burns my biscuits” is endearing and keeps the song light despite its topical nature.
The album is an incredible offering in which listeners can choose their depth. The songs incorporate heartfelt topical lyrics while embracing old school Texan music. It is the future of Country.