Album Review: Earnest Lovers – Sing Sad Songs
The Earnest Lovers are the best roots country band I’ve heard in several years. Picture yourself living in the heyday of electrified country music, hearing those twangy electric guitars for the first time. Smell the grease in the hair and the whiskey in the air… this is an album that will take you back to eras long before your own birth. This is an album true to its name with sad songs, but also plenty of timeless sonic beauty.
The play on words in “San Andreas’ Fault” is pretty typical of country music. The song has a nice, happy two step despite its sad storyline. The song is a great start for an album with such a dripping, authentic sound. The second track “Lights of Anita” is stripped down with a female lead. The violin steals the show on this one, creating an atmosphere of the breakup, but the strings on the fiddle bring in a feeling of real loss and longing. It’s sweet.
“Angels of Sunrise” is a bit more upbeat, but still a relaxing song. There’s a real sense of swing in the country on this one. There’s something intriguing about the way the main character of the song is looking back on her past. The whimsical-yet-driving nature of the song’s structure really takes the listener to a place of self reflection, which is perfect for the track.
“Still Missing You” is the quintessential country song. It’s impossible to listen to this one without thinking of George Jones. It has that “golden age of country music” feel to it from start to finish. It turns into a duet that is enough to make anyone want to sway on a barn floor. Sticking with the sad theme, “No Songs Came By Today” speeds up a bit, but still has those patented country high harmonies and lonesome lead vocals.
“Everybody’s Trying To Be My Pal” is a funny song that sounds more like a Roger Miller tune than anything else. It’s a nice way to end an album that could feel like a bit of a downer with so many “sad” songs. The uptake, though, is that even though they hold sad emotions the music doesn’t in fact feel sad. This is how country music continues to thrive in American culture; it wrestles with complex emotions in seemingly simple ways. This final track might just be the best example of that sort of musical cognitive dissonance that I’ve heard.
All told, this is an album for fans of old school country music. If you haven’t really enjoyed a country album since 1970, this is the one for you. If you like Justin Townes Earle or even Sturgill Simpson, you should definitely give these swinging country music makers a shot.