Any record that opens with the line “laid up in the house full of hookers and wine”, as the opening track ‘Ballad Of 1892’ does, immediately grabs the attention of the listener and sets the tone of Pinnell’s new record as classic country that maybe doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Similarly, ‘The Way We See Heaven’ ends the record by expanding further on the consequences of the rock’n’roll lifestyle and an unlikely visit to the pearly gates which results in the singer learning that his friends have all gone to the other place whereupon he decides to join them.
‘Take The Wheel’ is battle cry that no matter what life throws at the singer he’s going to keep on going much as the likes of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings did before.
One thing that becomes clear is that Pinnell knows how to write a melodic tune with a catchy chorus. The ballads ‘Different Kind Of Love’ and ‘Best I Could Do’ are prime examples of this as they belt out radio-friendly jukebox country classics.
The rocking ‘I Don’t Believe’ uses some great apocalyptic lyrics to deliver a healthy dose of skepticism and individuality. It is possible the strongest and cleverest piece of writing on the record.
Pinnell has produced a record that has a great live band sound to it. The production is laid back and avoids the slickness that too many Americana and country records go for these days. The slide guitar that covers practically all of the record sounds sharp and earthy and the melodies combined with Pinnel’s lyrics deliver age-old stories of heartbreak, debauchery, and prison in a laid-back humorous up-tempo Honky Tonk style.
In many ways the record made me think of the Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards know how to write a country tune, but even they could learn from Pinnells’s ability to write a song.