Reviews

Micky & The Motorcars’ Long Time Comin’

Micky and the Motorcars
By Brian Rock

Micky & The Motorcars ride again on their eighth studio album Long Time Comin’. Stalwarts of the Austin Alt-Country music scene, M&M made a name for themselves playing hell raising, beer drinking party songs with a slew of Texas landmark references thrown in for good measure. This new release keeps the Texas references, but replaces the rowdier elements with a more reflective tone. Although they have smoothed some of their rough edges, they still deliver that Old 97s meets Reckless Kelly DIY sensibility.

“Lions of Kandahar” is the definitive example of their new style. Summarizing a 300 page memoir in 4 minutes, M&M tell the story of Major Rusty Bradley with poise and insight. Beginning with a buzzing Middle Eastern sitar that is soon accompanied by a thumping bass drum, M&M sing a first-person account of Bradley’s rendezvous with destiny. From promising his family he will return safely, to facing hell on earth in a hopelessly outnumbered gunfight, to returning home only to relive the trauma each time he tries to sleep; the band creates a truly moving tribute to Major Bradley and all the men and women of our armed services who risk their lives to protect ours.

“Hold This Town Together” uses piano, organ and wailing electric guitar to sing the praises of folks still fighting to keep s sense of community. Although the singer has left town long ago, he returns to check in on friends he used to know and finds himself overcome with memories.  Remembering his roots, he sings, “I know everything is changing. And I know nothing lasts forever. God bless the folks who try so hard to hold this town together.” A fitting microcosm of our current national divide, Micky and the Motorcars recognize that even as times change, there are some things worth holding onto.

M&M beat a chooglin’ train rhythm on snare drum to lead into “Thank My Mother’s God.” Pondering poor decisions, wrong turns and addictions, they sing, “I look at where I’m from and the people all around me. In the end we’re all searching for the same thing. Throw your heart in the river and hope it sees the ocean some day.” Not entirely sure what we’re looking for, we dream of something better. The train of life keeps moving us down the tracks even if we can’t see where we’re heading. In our confusion, we realize that it’s the moments when we shared our hearts that we were most clear and aware and focused. And we remember who taught us to love, and we, “should thank my mother’s God for giving her some faith in me. You don’t have to see it to believe it.”

As this trilogy of songs attest, Band leaders and brothers Micky and Gary Braun have taken a giant leap forward in their songwriting. Not only are they dealing with weightier issues, they are bringing them to life with vivid and poetic imagery. For the rest of the album the brothers turn their talents to the topic of relationships, both good and bad. “Road To You” is a triumphant, Reckless Kelly influenced celebration of returning to a lover’s arms. “Rodeo Girl” uses colorful rodeo metaphors to describe the joyful relationship of a lovesick buckaroo looking forward to getting back in the saddle. On the other end of the spectrum, M&M sing the Country Blues on “Alone Again Tonight,” “All Looks The Same,” and the surprisingly uptempo, “Break My Heart.”

Even when love does go wrong, Micky and the Motorcars remind us that we have much to be thankful for: the soldiers who protect us, the hometown folks who helped raise us, the mothers who loved us, and of course the musicians who bring their stories to life for us. And in this month of Thanksgiving, it’s important to count those blessings, even if it takes a “Long Time Comin’.”

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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