Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
So I was on the Outlaw Country Cruise from February 26 through March 2 and I was watching Scott H. Biram perform. This guy comes up to me named Jay and hands me this CD. I told him I review them on my website Twangri-La and he was ecstatic. He was just giving me one to be nice and had no idea I write reviews. He brought a bunch of them on the cruise to give to people to promote The Airstreams. I get a lot of unsolicited music and I usually keep my expectations low because most of them are not really my taste. So when I put on The Airstreams CD and listened, I was floored. It is absolutely exceptional.
This is sort of a cross between outlaw country and late 60s/early 70s cosmic country ala Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, and New Riders Of The Purple Sage. It is really a gem. The vocals are smooth and not as raspy as the normal outlaw country. The backing vocals are sublime and pure California harmonies. This album comforts me like a warm blanket or a nice shot of bourbon. It warms the body well.
Gorgeous pedal steel and twang abound on this self titled release. Somebody New (Track 2) takes the early lead in this race. An absolutely pristine country song about breaking up and finding a new love. It explores the trials and tribulations of old and new romances. Again the vocals are absolute magic and are perfectly balanced with the backing vocals, guitar,and pedal steel.
A common theme of outlaw country is the drifter lifestyle of never staying in one place too long. Nomads Forever (Track 3) is about being on the road and staying on the road. A song that perfectly describes the troubadour lifestyle. It is not just a job, it is a way of life. It is really a state of mind. Songs have been sung by many about being unable to settle down by Hank Williams (Ramblin’ Man), Townes Van Zandt (Waiting Around To Die), and The Allman Brothers (Ramblin’ Man – this is different than the Hank song). Add Nomads Forever to that esteemed list of drifter songs.
Speaking of drifter songs, this album has two of them. Highway Shoes (Track 5) is another song that discusses the need to get on the road. This number is a little bit more somber and discusses some of the negatives. Overall, the tenor of the story is that when you feel the need to wander, you just gotta go.
So I highlighted three of the eight songs on this collection, but the other five are also worthy of attention. This is truly a grand compendium of tunes and will make my job hard at the end of the year when I compile the best of 2017. Consider The Airstreams a serious contender.