Coincidence that both of the songs I'm reviewing for the week happen to have a country-rock sound?! Well anyway, here they are:
"California (Cast Iron Soul)" by Jamestown Revival: California might not be a Southern state, but the feel of this song is pure Southern country-rock. The song's (and band's) name might be Californian, but the members of the band are actually from Magnolia, Texas, which makes sense, given the way the song sounds. The song is basically a wistful ode to the Golden State (which I'm proud to call MY home), and how much the members of Jamestown Revival admire it. Country and bluegrass music is not exactly the first thing I think of when someone mentions California, but I suppose some of its history (the Gold Rush, for instance) might make for some apt subject matter for a song of the genre.
"Pauline Hawkins" by Drive-By Truckers: Though I've only heard a handful of songs by Drive-By Truckers, it's still pretty hard to mistake Patterson Hood's husky yet expressive vocals! Their unlikely musical blend of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Elliott Smith, along with Hood's singing, are definitive features of both the band, and their latest song, "Pauline Hawkins". At 6 and half minutes, "Pauline Hawkins" feels like a long, drawn out story at certain points, and that's pretty much what it is. Apparently Patterson Hood was inspired to write a song about a character, who happens to be named Pauline Hawkins, from Willy Vlautin's novel, "The Free". Pauline's life and job were both quite harsh, which probably explains the inner angst I felt when listening to the song!