You might be forgiven for thinking that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find real country music, but that is far from the truth. This year has been an especially strong year for new names making some great new music and sometimes it’s tricky just fitting them all in. One such record that nearly slipped through the cracks but is way too good to miss is this release from Cincinnati’s Jeremy Pinnell which was recorded in Kentucky – hence the title.
This is one of those albums that only takes about 15 seconds of the first track to know that you’re onto something a bit special. I was immediately reminded of the superb Ags Connolly record from earlier this year when The Way Country Sounds kicked in. In it, Pinnell sings “I’ve had heartache, I’ve had pain, and I’ve had to struggle with the needle in my vein” and says that if you’ve lived the life he lives then “you’d know the way that country sounds”. The song is something of a masterpiece and according to his website, “The stories told are true, not embellished folklore. Jeremy will not speak of them - only sing.”
In the downbeat Rodeo, Pinnell says that he has drowned himself in “cocaine whiskey and beer” and I was getting a good idea of the flaws that have created something of a genius who left home at 18, and now, 18 years later tells the story of his life and the conquering of his demons on this superb album, on which he is backed by honky tonk band The 55s who lay down some seriously good grooves.
Jeremy Pinnell also has a wonderfully lived-in voice that projects like he’s turned up to eleven at all times.
Apparently, these days Pinnell has returned to his humble beginnings and is living an honest life but throughout the songs he reminds us of his darker past whether he is “the one they love to hate” who “can’t relate to the good Lord above” in Light Me Up, or has been “loving loose women but they never loved me” and yearns to settle down in the waltz Loose Women.
Don’t be expecting to find any happy songs on OH/KY, this guy can do heartache and despair like a modern day Hank Williams. It’s dark, laid back and irresistible.
This is a very special record indeed and I can only apologise for not sharing it with you a couple of months ago because this is one you do not want to miss. I’d put this right up there with Jamey Johnson’s finest.
Certainly one of the best of the year.