On Charlie Marie’s 2019 EP she sang about how ‘everywhere’s got a countryside’, channeling Patsy Cline and gathering some well deserved online buzz. Due to the pandemic it has taken a couple of years for her to release this debut album but it is more than worth the wait. Ramble On is a welcome journey through the classic country sound with lots of witty wordplay.
Charlie Marie is an artist who knows the history of her genre and makes good on that promise with a full band traditional sound throughout. The opening song Soul Train says ‘classic country will always have a home’ with her and she celebrates steel guitars, two stepping, heartbreak – all the best of the genre as it should be.
Here are songs born in the reality of the honky tonks she sings about, where Tequila and Lime help two hearts meet under the neon lights. Her use of fun metaphors and wordplay brings a slice of originality to the songs. On El Paso she sings of heartbreak with a modern twist in the tale. Lauren shows she can deliver a ballad with style too.
On ‘40 Miles from Memphis’ a little more of the blues and soul influences can be heard. The song tells of how she ‘walked on the wild side’ before seeing the light and returning to her lover. Her wild side is also evident on Daddy, where she puts her father through the ringer worrying about his wayward daughter. She reassures him she’s full of tough stuff, ready to fight even if needs be. You’re looking at country steel with this girl.
Album centrepiece Heard it Through the Red Wine is an absolute gem – taking a legendary song title and country music theme and turning them on their head in spectacular style. So good it might save your soul or bring a smile to your face at the very least.
The feline allusions on Tough Kitty maybe stretch her wordplay games a little far, or perhaps it just pales in comparison to the perfection that comes before it. Cowboys and Indians is another slightly problematic metaphor in the current climate of concern about culture but the western style sure sounds great.
She also takes time to celebrate live music and the touring life on Ramble On Man, which feels kind of poignant right now considering the situation we have all been in this past year.
By the end she asks her ex to Kiss My Boots and well with country music this fun and enjoyable it would be rude not to.