There’s a delightfully delicious dark side to this new self-titled album from Steel Blossoms. Singers Hayley Prosser and Sara Zebley often have their tongue in their cheek, and they know that traditional country music is the perfect place to really put such dry humour to good use. By not taking themselves too seriously the duo have made one of the most entertaining albums of the year.
Opener ‘You’re the Reason I Drink’ deserves credit for the hilarious title alone. As it is they use their wit to really attack the problem with many relationships – most people drive each other up the wall and sometimes alcohol is the only solution. Pick Me Up is also about vices and those bad things which get you through a tough week/existence.
Trailer Neighbour is in the vein of Brandy Clark and Kacey Musgraves in the humorous way band bring small town characters vividly to life.
They also have the ability to take things seriously too. County Line has a softer, contemplative side exploring the poverty and people of the local area they’re from.
Innocent is one of my favourites on the album – about wishing you could go back to a time before the world screwed you up. Happiness wasn’t coincidence / everything made perfect sense. That wistful childhood longing is beautifully conveyed.
The more bluegrass style of You Ain’t Sleeping Over is a brilliant take down of a man who won’t commit. And maybe he really should put a ring on it since they also have a song called Killed A Man – a murder ballad that is a total riot. Revenge is an even darker take on love gone wrong – sung from beyond the grave. It could easily be played for laughs too but this one feels much more deadly.
Heroine is perhaps the only slight misstep here and not because it’s a bad song but it does occasionally fall into addiction cliches. Perhaps in comparison with the other more lighthearted songs the first person narrative of addiction doesn’t quite ring true to me. Still I admire them for addressing difficult subjects.
The last track Kentucky’s Never Been This Far From Tennessee is a straight love song, sung beautifully with some gorgeous strings and pedal steel, showing a softer side to their style.
Steel Blossoms have enough personality to set them apart and the musicality to impress the traditionalists too. This album just flies by – at ten songs and thirty four minutes it’s the perfect length for me. Fun, fresh and funny – what more could any country music fan need?