Sunday, August 12, 2018

James Scott Bullard: “Full Tilt Boogie” (2018) CD Review

Perhaps the only way to approach things is to go full tilt boogie. Why do something with anything less than complete dedication and focus? That seems to be the case for James Scott Bullard, and his music. The title of his latest release, Full Tilt Boogie, was not chosen haphazardly, but is an indication of his drive. The music here is country rock with the emphasis on the rock. These songs have energy and passion and movement. The band is made up of James Scott Bullard on vocals and guitar, Mike Knight on drums, Justin Banks on keys, Kevin Singleton on bass, Jeff Springs on guitar and lap steel, Rebecca Morning on backing vocals and Jordan Adams on backing vocals. All the tracks are originals, written by James Scott Bullard.

The album gets off to a good start with “Lord, Have Mercy,” country rock with a full sound and just the right amount of twang to the vocals. “So go paint the town, my dear/’Cause I don’t feel much like dancing/You look too good to stay here/But have a little mercy on me.” Oh yes, let that electric guitar carry you away. “Now, honey, don’t you forget me/If I should stay gone for too long/And don’t treat me like a stranger/When I come rolling back home.” Then the ripping guitar leads us into “Wicked Ways,” a tune with a promising title for those of us of dubious faith. And it’s a whole lot of fun. The lines that first made me love this track are “One Sunday morning, a preacher told me/He said boy, you’re going straight to hell/I said, well preacher, when you get to heaven/Have the good lord to forward my mail.” Is it a cautionary tale? Hmm, it’s like gospel if every church had a full bar and an active night life.  This one has a false ending, like a brief death from which it rises to boogie once again, praise the lord.

“Hey, Hey Mama” is a rockin’ tune that encourages us to enjoy the good life. “Shake it ‘til it rattles/Shake it ‘til it quakes.” The line that stands out for me each time I listen is this one: “I’m going to love you, woman, like it’s against the law.” Oh, hell yes. How’s that for going full tilt boogie? This goes a bit more in the blues direction than toward country, but rocks throughout. James Scott Bullard keeps things moving with “Warpath,” after a mellow intro. In this one, he sings “Take me to a place where nobody knows my name,” sort of the opposite of the Cheers theme. This one got me dancing in my apartment, especially during that great jam toward the end. While “Warpath” is about moving on after a woman nearly drove him insane, “Jesus, Jail, Or Texas” is about telling the woman it’s time for her move on. Hey, someone has to be moving, right? Well, the music is getting my feet moving. This song is a lot of fun. When “Oh me oh my” is followed by “Oh my oh me,” you know things are good. I love the backing vocals on this track. And check out these lines: “Honey, you ain’t the first one/You ain’t gonna be the last/You might not be the worst one/But you damn sure ain’t the best.” And then “Evil Lovin’” includes this great line: “I said I might be crazy, but, mama, I ain’t crazy about you.” And in both songs, the woman is the cause of some serious drinking. There are more troubles and more moving on in “The Next Tear,” in which he sings, “You won’t get a chance to leave me hurting/I’ll be gone before the next tear hits the ground.” Ah, a song of self-preservation, and one featuring some nice work on guitar. The album then concludes with “Back To You,” which has a kind of sweeter vibe. Yeah, there is still movement here, but in a different direction. “Down every road that takes me back to you.”

CD Track List
  1. Lord, Have Mercy
  2. Wicked Ways
  3. All To Pieces
  4. Hey, Hey Mama
  5. Warpath
  6. Jesus, Jail, Or Texas
  7. Evil Lovin’
  8. Leavin’ On My Mind
  9. The Next Tear
  10. Back To You
Full Tilt Boogie was released on April 27, 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment