August is proving to be a really strong month for Americana albums with the release of Beth Bombara’s Evergreen, Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’ and this great new album Journey Proud from Edan Archer. Archer fuses country and folk with a rock and roll spirit that’s irresistible from start to finish.
The album begins with a conversation with God, the narrator is hoping for a reprieve from the man upstairs. Hard living has sent them to the edge of death, with only a six winged angel at her feet. I’m asking for a few more hours, she sings in desperation more than hope. The song was inspired by the death of her cousin and you can hear the raw emotion in the song. Loneliness, alcoholism, death are themes which recur across the record. Hard Liquor is a great slice of honky tonk, telling the story of a doomed relationship. The simple catchy hook of Alcohol is about how the bottle never lets us down, or at least how you convince yourself of that while you’re drowning your sorrows.
On the classic country inspired ‘Younger Man’s Game’ with a tongue firmly in her cheek she delivers a wryly humorous kiss-off to the men who can’t keep up with her youthful spirit. Her personality shines through again on Garden Rose, ‘I will never be your beauty queen’ she admits, offering an alternative view of her own attractions. This song shows some real vulnerability and is probably her best vocal performance on the album. I love the dusky tone of her voice and it really suits the organic, live feel of her music.
The second half of this album begins with the straight classic rock Bad Imitation of Something Good, a style which she delivers with ease and authenticity. She admits to always ‘being just outside the lines’ on the heartbreaking next song You Don’t Want Me Anymore. There’s some comic relief on the rip-roaring ‘You Shoot, I Drive’ duet with Sean Walsh, a Bonnie and Clyde inspired rebel riot.
The album finishes with Little Birds, a gorgeous moment of grace and appreciation for life’s small things. Archer plays a lovely dulcimer solo to add to the dreamy feel of the song.
Maybe she wants for nothing and being small doesn’t bother her at all but an album this great deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. Seek out Journey Proud and get to know this outlaw angel for yourself.