Dec 28, 2020
Jul 9, 2020
By Matthew Martin
We all have those things that bring us comfort. When we are feeling a little out of sorts or we are at a crossroads of any kind, we know exactly what to reach for to bring us a little joy or a little comfort at our most insecure moments. For me, as is the case for many people, that comfort has always been music. The kind I tend to gravitate towards when I'm feeling unsure of my reality usually is played in a minor key. But, whether or not it's in a minor key, I want the lyrics to hit home for me. I want to feel like I've been in the songwriter's position before, or know someone who has, or might be on track to be there at some point. I want to feel it.
Joshua Ray Walker has a knack for this type of song. He has a way with words that I can't get enough of. There's humor, sadness, and a sense of joy in his music- sometimes in the same song. On his last album, Wish You Were Here, it felt like lightning in a bottle. Starting off an album with a song as good as "Canyon" seems criminal. To come out of seemingly nowhere and be that devastating in a song had me hooked and wanting more. I devoured that album and became a big, big fan of Joshua Ray Walker's. I did not want to have to wait the typical 2 or so years to have to hear new music from Walker. And thank god I didn't have to wait that long.
Released a year and a half later, Joshua Ray Walker's Glad You Made It picks up right where his last album left off. These songs stand up right up there with the best of his debut. Those characters are still deeply flawed, deeply unapologetic, and deeply vibrant. They are covering up scars and bruises, They are wondering how the hell they got where they are. But, again, most of all, they are trying to stay alive, like REALLY ALIVE, for one more night.
One thing that stuck out to me about this album is that it is definitely a more rocking, honky-tonking affair, e.g. "User". This album feels like a twisted 70s Capricorn Records cousin (for those that don't know, Capricorn was home to The Dixie Dregs, Marshall Tucker Band, and The Allman Brothers). The cast of musicians playing on this album very clearly were having a fun time. It shows in every song. From the organ-laced rocker of "D.B. Cooper" to the nearly bluegrass "Play You A Song" every song is loose and perfect sounding. The notes intertwine with Walker's interesting, unique twang. Speaking of his twang, I'm not sure there's a voice as unique as Walker's, complete with his falsetto notes and yodeling. And, I absolutely love it.
Where Walker really shines is when he slows it down to explore some demons- whether or not they're his own is not all that explicit. On "Voices" Walker explores lost love, hurt, and deep depression, even pondering his own death. It's an affecting song. It's dark. But, it's incredible. It's required listening. Yeah, it's sad, but music is supposed to make you feel. It's supposed to make you confront some of those demons you've been neglecting so you can become a better person. At least, that's what I like about music. Then there's "Boat Show Girl" which has that humor that I mentioned earlier, with the imagery of a "redneck Statue of Liberty." This is a character study that Jonny Corndawg/Fritz would be proud of.
I can't wait until we can see live music again, because I know these songs are going to be absolute killers live. This album is going to be in deep, deep rotation for me. It should be for you. Go buy this album and Walker's first album. You won't regret it.
Glad You Made It is available Friday everywhere.
Oct 25, 2019
By Matthew Martin
Ever wondered what it would sound like if Iggy Pop and the Stooges had been born south of the Mason-Dixon line? Well, look no further than Fort Worth, Texas's Ottoman Turks. With a sound as much garage rock as it is country, this seems like that kind of band that could win over the staunchest of Dads who don't "get" their kids' taste in music. From the apathetic Southern drawl to the snaking slide guitar and driving drum beats, this is definitely music for Saturday nights.
The Ottoman Turks first came to my attention due to some posts by their guitarist who happens to be the incomparable Joshua Ray Walker. The band had been playing on and off together for the last few years but due to a few conflicting schedules never really did anything more than play a few shows whenever they got back together. However, in the last year or so they decided to finally get this album out there. And for that, I couldn't be happier.
The album starts with the perfectly named and played, "Apathy." With the slide guitar slinking around the whole song, it's hard not to feel entranced. It's the kind of song you want to open up a beer and just let it wash over you. The album then breaks into my personal favorites- "Snake Song" and "Glass Bottles." These are perfect encapsulations of the Ottoman Turks. You can hear the party in the songs and you can hear the slight danger. But, you can also sense that note of that sadness that makes country music so endearing and relatable.
Then there's the almost pure garage rock "OCP." A song about fighting. A song definitely more at home on Funhouse than Ol Waylon but feels so uniquely Ottoman Turks. This song even has a pretty sweet drum solo. What's not to love?! Seriously, the last half of this album is one long party. It's worth the price of admission.
The whole album more or less bleeds into each other almost feeling like one long live set. It's a production technique that I am quite fond of. For a band with one album, I feel they have pretty distinct sound. If I were to turn on the radio and hear more garage rock country, I'd immediately assume it was Ottoman Turks. I can only guess what these songs would sound like live. I imagine the smell of sweat, booze, and cigarettes. I imagine dancing and all around rowdiness. But, most of all, I imagine an awesome time. I hope these dudes make it up to D.C. sometime. And, if you live in the Fort Worth area, you oughta go see em. Until then, go get the album and crank that shit up loud.
Jun 21, 2019
Here are Trailer’s Top 20 Songs of 2019 so far. No rankings (till the end of the year). No summaries or explanations. Just know they’re good and give ‘em a listen!
Sturgill Simpson - The Dead Don’t Die
Liz Brasher - Blood of the Lamb
Molly Tuttle - Don’t Let Go
Kylie Rae Harris - Twenty Years From Now
Tyler Ramsey - Evening Country
The Lowdown Drifters - Black Hat
Reba McEntire - No U In Oklahoma
Dee White - Tell the World I Do
Kalyn Fay - Good Company
Apr 9, 2019
1. Vandoliers - Forever
2. Charles Wesley Godwin - Seneca
3. Joshua Ray Walker - Wish You Were Here
4. Molly Tuttle - When You’re Ready
5. Austin Meade - Waves
6. Kalyn Fay - Good Company
7. Dee White - Southern Gentleman
8. Jenny Lewis - On the Line
9. Yola - Walk Through Fire
10. Flatland Cavalry - Homeland Insecurity
11. Robert Ellis - Texas Piano Man
12. Reba McEntire - Stronger Than the Truth
13. Mary Bragg - Violets as Camouflage
14. Rod Melancon - Pinkville
15. Quaker City Night Hawks - QCNH
16. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
17. George Strait - Honky Tonk Time Machine
18. Hayes Carll - What It Is
19. Karly Driftwood - Too Mean to Die
20. Jimbo Mathus - Incinerator
21. Liz Brasher - Painted Image
22. Charlie Shafter - When I Was Yours and You Were Mine
22. Charlie Shafter - When I Was Yours and You Were Mine
23. Randy Houser - Magnolia
24. The Steel Woods - Old News
25. Rob Baird - After All
*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet
**this is just Trailer's top 25 - year end list will include all FTM contributors