Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is old school country and it is exactly what the doctor ordered. It feels fresh and new and timely as hell. Ryan Koenig is no stranger to country music, Koenig joined up with Pokey LaFarge in 2008. The band has toured the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Grand Ole Opry, The Marty Stuart Show and many others.
Ryan Koenig was born October 4, 1985 in St Louis, Missouri. He is a multi instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Koenig performs and records on harmonica, guitar, banjo, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, washboard, bass, bones, and jug. Two Different Worlds marks Ryan’s debut into center stage.
This album covers genres as diverse as classic country, honky tonk, outlaw country, and Tejano. They blend together beautifully and become one very compelling package. So let;s get back to Tejano. Podemos Si Te Quieres (Track 4) is a wonderful Latin inspired country song complete with accordions. This song is saturated with authenticity. I can envision this song being played live somewhere in a hot and dusty border town. With plenty of tequila, of course. And not the good stuff, either.
The next entry, Am I Still In Your Heart (Or Am I Just In Your Way) (Track 4) is a song that could be right out of Willie Nelson’s playbook. It is outlaw and it sure is honky tonk. It is also a great song about heartbreak and a relationship on the rocks. This could be a country song played now and many years in the future. It has those qualities.
The album starts off with an absolutely perfect country song that is a hybrid of some Allman Brothers and The Byrds. It has more than a hint of Laurel Canyon influence. Some authentic country music mixed with some organ that gives this song a ’60s feel to it. Miss Edie (Track1) is a classic in the making about a woman going to Dallas to start a new life.
I really cannot say enough good things about Two Different Worlds. It is a complete jaw “droppingly” good album that should have a place on any country music fan’s shelf next to Waylon and Willie. It belongs with the greats and history will prove me right.