Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This rose above the rest when I gave it a first listen. Some serious outlaw country music was waving through my headphone speakers and I was treated to some ass kicking honky tonk sounds courtesy of Jeremy Pinnell. What a voice! It is a cross between a honky tonk troubadour and a grizzled blues veteran. Jeremy has a gravelly voice that speaks a very honest truth. He is open about his struggles and has turned those events into gripping and captivating songs. These songs are well written and sung like a true outlaw country star.
Jeremy Pinnell has lived two lives. His current life, which is a devout family man. Jeremy’s past life may have been more exhilarating, but it was also dangerous. All of the stories are there, a life committed to song. Some of the messages are very clear and tangible. Other stories are more abstract, but all of the songs tell a story, either Jeremy’s or someone he observed.
One of the main reasons this caught my eye is because Jeremy is from Northern Kentucky (NK), a place that I call my second home. When I see someone is from the NK/Cincinnati area, it immediately piques my curiosity. That’s what started it. What sealed it was Jeremy’s authentic country star voice. Let’s not forget the writing, which is impeccable.
I have to start off by saying that some of the finest pedal steel work I have heard in a long time is contained on this album. No where can that fine playin’ be heard better than on Best I Could Do (Track 7). This song is a true confessional. This could double as a honky tonk classic and a gospel number. “When I stand before my maker, I’ll know I did the best I could do”, says Jeremy with so much conviction that you have no choice but to believe him. And believe him, I do.
I believe in Jeremy Pinnell. Another cowboy who has recently thrown his hat into the honky tonk ring. It used to be a very small piece of real estate, but it recently seems to be expanding. I couldn’t be happier.
This album has twang just leaking out all over. Twang is my thing, as you may have surmised. Take the Wheel (Track 2) is twang central. This song has the Bakersfield stamp of approval all over it. It’s about letting someone else take control of a relationship for awhile. This is an outstanding piece of writing, containing both truth and clever lyrics.
The Way We See Heaven (Track 9) is perfect. It is a perfect southern rock and outlaw country ballad that has at least 1,000 listens in store for me. It is part Waylon, part Skynyrd, but 100% Pinnell. Another song about death and the afterlife. Jeremy states he would rather be in hell with the people that love him than alone in heaven. Some heady writing from the 40 year old Pinnell. Another song that has twang bustin’ out at the seams. And the chorus, oh the chorus. It is magnificent.
Outlaw and classic country is alive and well. The bar is constantly moving upward because of artists like Jeremy Pinnell. Artists that are real and completely honest. Jeremy is extremely candid and does not shy away from topics that may not be the most pleasant. Having written that, Jeremy can take those topics and make a beautiful song out of it. There are nine examples of that writing on this album. Now, go buy it.