Country Hodge Podge

Real country music. No bullshit. 

Brandon Rhyder Makes a Powerful Return

Brandon Rhyder Makes a Powerful Return

Every other year, an artist will come out and say, "This new album means a lot to me! It's the best album I've ever written. It comes straight from the heart." This is typical PR talk to try and sell their record so consumers think they're buying something different. More times than not, when the album hits the shelves, it's either the same ol' same ol' or it's just more generic laundry list music that was pushed by their label. That is not the feeling you get when you listen through Brandon Rhyder's newest 10 tracks.

Rhyder comes back from a four-year hiatus to deliver an excellent and personal story. We are less than a week away from the release of his 7th studio album, self-titled Brandon Rhyder. Upon my first listen-through, I was blown away by the traditional sound. For a quick moment, I could swear that I was listening to an old album and that I was possibly sent the wrong file. That's not to say the album is dated. This album is a fantastic modern take on a traditional sound. He isn't pandering to anyone. In his hiatus, Rhyder discovered himself. He learned about his family and personal relationships. In an interview with Cowboys & Indians, he stated how priorities in his life have changed. Penning six tracks himself, and cowriting with Lori McKenna, Keith Gattis, Michael Hearne and Bri Bagwell, Rhyder has made sure that this album was spoken from the heart, and not just what will sell.

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In April, he released the duet They Need Each Other with the aforementioned award-winning songwriter Lori McKenna (Girl Crush, Humble & Kind). Rhyder described writing this song to Rolling Stone Country with a story about his wife:

"One day I arrived home and I couldn't find her in the house so I hollered her name, and I could tell she was back in the kids' rooms," he says. "I rounded the corner, and there she was up under the sink working to unclog the drain. She had told me about the sink slowly draining, but I hadn't gotten to the honey do list soon enough. She took matters into her own hands and did the job. I know I should have felt bad for not getting the job done, but I was more proud that she was willing to tackle something she knew little about. To me, it's a song about being a team, commitment, and sharing life with one another."

When looking at the track listing, one could roll their eyes at the track titled The Huntin' Song, but upon hearing it, you understand that it's not some country cliché "look at how country I am" song. It's a very personal story about growing up, with the central point being that he bonded with his father hunting in the woods and is now the father bonding with his kids. I Hate This Town starts off set in Nashville and could be misinterpreted as another protest song, but once you get into the chorus, realize it's a heartbreak song about loving the nightlife and hating the coming down and remembering that your life is not where you'd like.

Favorite track: No Time For That
I always have a thing for post-break up songs. It may be influenced by being single, or it may be because they are the most heartstring-pulling and real songs. No Time For That is self-deprecating, discussing that even if he were to take the girl back, she'd give up on him one day and that it's a waste of time.

It hits home.

8.5/10

Second Opinion
by Kevin Hodge

From the singer/songwriter that brought us one of my favorites in Freeze Frame Time, Brandon Rhyder brings us his all new self-titled album. The album, while strong overall, really hits its stride with songs like No Time For That and C'Mon Baby Hold On. The best off of the album, in my opinion, is I Hate This Town which speaks of enjoying a night on the town, only to wake up and realize you’re still alone. It also serves as a great metaphor for the idea of party songs existing in country music, that while enjoyable after “too many beers” like mentioned in the song, they lack substance, and once the hangover kicks in, you start to remember what’s really going on in life. It’s always refreshing in the current landscape of bro/pop country to see an album come out that is full of actual country songs. The album features guitars, fiddles, duets, and generally great sound throughout. Full of introspection and quality songwriting, it’s definitely worth checking out.

8/10

Brandon Rhyder releases Friday, July 14

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