Often my way of finding new music is to go to Amazon, Bandcamp, Noisetrade, or wherever and search for a band with a cool name. I know it has no basis on the quality of music, but this strategy has done well for me before (see Gospel Whiskey Runners, The Dirty Guv’nahs, The Deadly Gentlemen). So, while searching the folk section on Amazon, I came across a band called Turnpike Troubadours. This is a band whose album, “Goodbye Normal Street”, is about 30% bluegrass (really good bluegrass) and 70% country (which I am not a fan of). The band seems to struggle with what their identity is, but when they get it right, they get it really right.
The first song here is “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead”, an awesome bluegrass song that tells many stories of tragic events, but has a hopeful and inspiring chorus: “Well, raise another round, boy, and have another glass,/ Be thankful for today, knowing it will never last./ Let’s leave the world a-laughin’ when our eulogies are read,/ May we all get to heaven before the devil knows we’re dead.”
This next song is called “Southeastern Son”, a ballad about boy raised in the southeast, who joins the guard. It’s written as a letter home and it’s very well done.