Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I don’t come across many artists in this genre from my hometown of Baltimore, MD. In fact, I can think of two in the past year plus that I have been doing this. This is a very nice country rock album from The Herd. The songs are an easy listen and they are all played and sung with a high level of skill. The band is fronted by songwriter Peter McKibben, who also plays guitar, harmonica, and piano. Other members include his wife Gena McKibben – (Vocals, Guitar, Slide guitar, Pedal Steel, Piano, Mandolin); Corey Zook – (Guitar); Kevin Alban – (Bass); and Lance Smith – (Drums).
The Herd hit the bulls eye with an outlaw/classic country number called Feels Like Work (Track 3). The song is a very popular theme in classic and outlaw country. It’s about a woman who is doing her man wrong by cheating on him.
I can’t burn the candle at both ends
I can’t even say that we’ll stay friends
Lovin’ you shouldn’t have to hurt
Lovin’ you just feels like work
Simpy stated, and right to the point. Peter phrases the words of this common theme in a way that is different than I ever heard before. That is pretty impressive, in my book.
Another outlaw country tune that would make Waylon and Merle proud is Last Cigarette (Track 11). The words are truly awe inspiring and the singing is top notch. Given all of those factors, the one thing that makes this song really run like a greyhound is the amazing pedal steel. It gives me chills and makes me want to get rowdy at the same time.
There is a number on Heyday that sounds it is right out of the Dylan/Band songbook. Ode To Alan Wilson (Track 4) seems to have three of four story lines going on at the same time. Like Dylan, I am not sure if I truly understand every lyric, but it doesn’t matter. The song is quite thought provoking and leaves enough gaps in the story to allow me to draw my own conclusions and interpretations. Again, the vocals and music are superb. The backing vocals by Gena McKibben are chillingly beautiful and capable of producing tears.
This isn’t just a good Americana band from Baltimore. They are a good Americana band, period. As I stated earlier, there are very few Americana bands in Baltimore playing original outlaw country tunes. The Herd is the leader of the pack and hopefully will cause other local acts to follow in their footsteps. Thank you Herd Of Main Street, you are making Charm City proud!