The Shootouts’s Stampede

By Brian Rock

The Shootouts charge full speed ahead with their third album in five years, Stampede. Produced by legendary Asleep at the Wheel frontman, Ray Benson; the album bursts forth with all the energy and excitement of a herd of wild bison galloping across the western plains.

Marty Stuart lends a talented hand to lead off the album on the rocking western swing of “Better Things to Do.” Furious electric guitar and mandolin propel the song as lead singer Ryan Humbert opines, “If love is like a two man race, then I’m the guy in second place.” The fierce energy of the song; however, makes it clear that Ryan is not about to wallow in self-pity. After two minutes of musical pyrotechnics, Humbert declares, “When my heart don’t hurt no more and you come knocking on my door, tempting me to get back in the race. I’ll get up on my feet again and leave you like you left me then.” Full of defiant fury, the song expresses the joy of opening a new chapter in life when we finally find the courage to close the old one.

Ray Benson joins the fun on the classic western swing of “One Step Forward.” The song captures all the warmth and energy of a live Asleep at the Wheel show. The Shootouts invite Nashville legend, Buddy Miller to join them on the Bakersfield stylings of “Anywhere But Here.” “Tomorrow’s Knockin’,” is another nod to Bakersfield with another legendary guest star. Jim Lauderdale joins the band this time as they capture the feel of Buck Owens at his most playful. The guitar work recalls George Harrison’s early work with the Beatles, while the steel guitar keeps the song firmly grounded in its Country roots. The band adds piano and horns to capture a rockabilly feel on, “Feelin’ Kind of Lonely Tonight,” and the Dave Edmunds inspired, “Run For Cover.” They return to classic western swing on the dance floor ready, “Must Be a Broken Heart.” Combining the traditions of Bob Wills with the rapturous energy of Old Crow Medicine Show, The Shootouts create a fast-paced fusion of classic and modern country styles. 

Slowing the pace a bit, the band shares a trio of ballads. “Coming Home by Going Away,” adds a subtle Celtic influence and weepy steel guitar to remind us that nothing makes us appreciate our home more than being away from it. “Angels Work,” Is prayer of gratitude for our guardian angels whose work is never done. Humbert’s gentle, tenor voice adds to the earnestness of the musical prayer. Raul Malo joins the band for the tender love song, “I’ll Never Need Anyone More.”

With artists like Raul Malo, Ray Benson and Marty Stuart, you may be tempted to think this album is so good because of the guest stars; but the truth is The Shootouts made an album so good that these stars stampeded to be on it. I can think of no higher praise for an album than that.  |  fb  |  buy

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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