Here is a winner, an unforgettable record with its American buffalo cover that takes you securely into thoughtful, rocking Americana territory. This is the band’s first full length studio album. The first, unforgettable, track, has a winning hook line “You got a heart of stone. / Where’s your mamma gone wrong?” With strings in the back ground (courtesy of Paul Cartwright who has toured and recorded with a vast spectrum of artists), building to a crescendo and the resolution “I’ll stand free”, the band who have written all the songs themselves, are making a clear statement: Listen. We’re from Bakersfield, California. To be taken seriously!
The second track changes rhythm. “You’ll Find You” with its pounding rhythm and full band sound presents us with a pleading song: “Forgive yourself and just let go.” And that guitar? Who is it? It’s Neal Casal (He’s on two other tracks as well.)
Dip into the collection anywhere. Take “Bakersfield” for instance: “One thing I must confess/ Is you really are the best/ At making me feel at home.” As Jon Ranger sings, “Never feel alone,” there is Neal Casal’s guitar again wailing in the background.
All the tracks are outstanding. The sheer musical experience pedigree of Jesse Siebenberg in the production of this record is pervasive, as is his pedal steel playing!
Listen to the rocker “Arkansas.” Again, Jon’s distinctive voice with its depth of feeling hits you hard, shining as it does all the way through. “See the girl who’s walking tall. /Lock me up down in Arkansas.” It’s one of those memorable, confirming songs. “And not forget that love I have for you.”
You’re hooked. And to affirm your attachment to the disk, you are left, at the end, with “Emme Lee” A song for an adored child: “I will always shine for you. / You changed me. / You saved me.” This is not only a moving song; it confirms how lasting and unforgettable the album is.
Americana at its Californian best