Carolina Story: Lay Your Head Down (Black River)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I love a good story with a happy ending. Who doesn’t love happy endings? So way back, Ben sand Emily Roberts almost called it quits until that fateful moment when a woman in a grocery story praised the duo and told them not to give up. And they didn’t. If that isn’t a Cinderella Story, please correct me. I didn’t think so. 

So ten years (to the day) after Ben first laid eyes on Emily, they were recording Lay Your Head Down. A serendipitous moment, for sure. The moral of the story is never give up on your dream. If you believe in yourself, people will believe in you. Whether you be a writer, painter, carpenter, etc., never give up on that passion. That’s what life on earth is all about. 
Let me get down from the pulpit and start talkin’ about the music. Those harmonies and that twang make this a volatile mix of folk, rock, and country. Lots of very beautiful slide and pedal steel makes the twang stand out like embossed stationary. 
When I Was Just A Boy (Track 10) has the award winning mix of sad honky tonk blues and those sad vocals. Just splendid, absolutely splendid. Read these lyrics:
When I was just a boy
My mother would tell me
This life is but a blink of God’s eye
When I became a man
My father had taught me
Live fast & you’re sure to die young
Oh my son, don’t say I didn’t warn you
Never build your house on a sandy foundation
Guard your heart, don’t build walls around it
Never live your life without love & patience
Find your way onboard before you train leaves the station
They are extremely powerful words. Ban and Emily perfectly encapsulate the feeling over getting older and realizing your parents were right a lot more than they were wrong.  The pedal steel licks on this song, along with the harmonies, are world class. It’s a very thought provoking song that teeters between happy and sad. It’s a tear jerker for sure.
Albums can be made or broken by the opening track. Not quite as important as it used to be, but the opening track still matters. Having written that, Carolina Story knocked it out of the park with Lay Your Head Down (Track 1). The vocals and harmonies have to be heard to be believed. There is a guitar solo that starts at 2:15 that takes this song to the stratosphere.
Lay Your Head Down  is a very easy and enjoyable listen. There are some unique elements in all the songs, that make the entire album worth a listen. I don’t think it can stated often enough, I am glad that Carolina Story listened to the the lady in the grocery store and didn’t hang up the microphones. 
Listen to Lay Your Head Down
Buy Lay Your Head Down

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