Album Review: Lonesome Heroes – Can’t Stand Still

Album Review: Lonesome Heroes – Can’t Stand Still

If you listen to bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and think “they just don’t make music like this anymore,” I’d mostly agree with you… but then I’d hand you this brilliant LP from the Lonesome Heroes. It’s a vintage rock sound that’s as fresh as it would have been in 1968, except that these young, talented musicians released the album in 2015.

The twang and style of Lonesome Heroes is as original as it comes. The opening track “Sunshine Come” sounds like it could have come straight out of the 60s. It’s one of those blues tracks that sounds happy rather than sad, but still has the core of blues chord progression. It immediately puts you in a good mood starting the album.

“Steel” is a bit more soundly in the rock category. It sounds like something from the early 70s Eagles discography. The horns threw me off a little bit, but I think they work. The showcase of the band’s sound is definitely in the ability to have a vintage flavor on new rock music. It really comes through on this track, which is part southwestern flavor and part contemporary rock attitude.

The track “Love is Contagious” is pretty straightforward. It’s a rock song that talks about a woman whose love is contagious. But what you’ll find enjoyable is that it’s a chill rock song, including a really clean guitar solo, that keeps you wanting for more. It’s perfect for the background or for really thinking about it. May we all have a special someone in our lives with that kind of contagious love. “Drive to the stateline just to see your smile…” is literally something I’ve done with my now wife, so it really resonated with me.

“Western Style Saloons” might be my favorite track on the album. The guitar part is infectious and the “swing” part of the song is almost funny. The vocals come across as almost understated, but if you listen closely it’s not an easy melody or rhythmic pattern. I can’t even fathom trying to sing it while playing an instrument. Oh and those sneaky keys try to steal the show! Nice!

If you’re looking for a tried and true country song, “Shit Happens” fills the bill. “When I watched you walk out that room I didn’t think you’d be leaving so soon. I think it’s safe to assume that this is forever and not just once a blue moon.” I mean, that’s country. If you hear the steel guitar on this one and the literal two step rhythm, you’ll know it’s made for the country bar. It’s also dripping with irony and attitude.

“Throwing Dirt Into the Wind” is country as well, but with a different feel to it. Maybe it’s that Austin influence, but it doesn’t feel like the kind of country we hear coming out of Nashville. There’s a different sort of attitude on this one. “We are bound now to the spring…” launches into a hopeful, celebratory attitude toward life. I can appreciate the inherent optimism in the song about life still going on despite obstacles along the way.

The final track “Darkness Towards Light” is an absolutely wonderful way to end the album. It’s downtempo and relaxing. The lead vocal sounds different than the rest of the album. It’s melodic and peaceful rather than uptempo and sometimes ironic. “I’m gonna ramble on and you’re gonna sing a purty song… and when it’s time I guess we’ll go dancing…” The spirit of the song “time just goes on and on” is the kind of “salt of the earth” reality that I appreciate about country music. It’s about “walking from the darkness towards light.” Whether they meant it or not, this is a beautiful gospel message. I could listen to this one at the end of a night, that’s for sure.

All told, Lonesome Heroes are a talented group of musicians. What I really appreciate about their approach is that they come across as the real deal. These aren’t songs for the sake of making songs; they’re real stores and expressions of life. There’s some blues, some rock, and some country here, but mostly it’s just a particular brand of western music that just feels right. I can smell the desert and the wide open spaces on each track. It’s an enjoyable album with a spectacularly pleasing final track.

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