If Birds Could Fly is a band for people that like real country music. They are not a product of the over produced contemporary country scene. Instead, they represent the kind of soul-driven authentic country music that drives a genre. The lead vocals, provided by Brittany Carter, are in a class all their own. Their recent album, Ghosts, presents a mixture of classic country sounds and top-of-the-class female lead vocals. Fans of classic country greats like Loretta Lynn or Martina McBride will enjoy this album immensely.
Carter’s voice is mature beyond it’s seeming possibility. She has a tender and honest tone, evident on several songs, including the second track on the album, “Skin and Bones.” The chorus reminds listeners that we’re living our lives now. It’s a simple but important message not to rush through the simple joys of life. The “oohs” in the song help to soothe the listener to the relaxed overall feeling of the song.
The third track “Apple Pie Moonshine” gives the rest of the band a chance to shine. The tune, a bit more upbeat, features all of the instruments, notably the fiddle. Referring to the “age old trade” the song has the potential to be a standby for the NASCAR introductions. It has a very authentic feel to it, knowing that the song itself is performed by a band of young musicians from Big Stone Gap, Virginia. It’s got that mountain feel to it and it’s great.
Buried in the middle of the album at track five is the best song on the album and a sure contender for song of the year, “We Got Love.” The live recording on YouTube (we featured earlier) totally blew me away. The recorded version highlights Carter’s voice in a slightly different way. The message of the song, though, is a pure country song. This is the kind of timeless country songwriting that’s been missing in popular country music for the better part of a decade. “We got love, baby, that could move a mountain.” That, right there, is rooted in biblical imagery, with classic country elements to the structure of the music and the verses. This is a country music song. As I commented on the video itself, this song begs to be sung at the Grand Ole Opry.
“Oklahoma Thunder” is another great song. It has a different swagger than the rest of the album, but it’s not a bad thing. It reflects a different kind of country music that is less Appalachian and a bit more modern country. The play on words with the NBA team made me smile a little and the song itself has a fair amount of classic American imagery. All told the song works well.
The track “Muddy Waters” sounds kind of dark. The minor chords and the lower register of the song create a musical picture of mystery. “This is the place where I drown my sorrow… this is the place I reside. Down in the valley, the lonesome river, this is the place I will die.” See what I mean… dark. “I’m going down, my soul is doomed.” This song doesn’t have the hopefulness of “Friends in Low Places” made popular by Garth Brooks. Instead, this reference to death remains morbid throughout the song. It seems to have come out of a dark place in the writer. I admire that rawness and particularly the way IBCF pull it off.
Overall the album has some really good tracks described here. I’m most impressed by “We Got Love.” Like I said at the outset this is a pure country album and will really make some people happy to hear such a genuine sound. The themes are mixed from love to death, but the overall album is a quality product of authentic country music.