Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is pure country gold! I am completely smitten with In The Works by The Robert Henry Band. Where in the hell did this guy come from? Apparently, he was born in Florida and lives in Canby, Oregon. This is what country should sound like. Twang out the wazoo and some insanely beautiful pedal steel and electric guitar licks throughout this 20 minute EP. I know, 20 minutes? Well, I think this is the Robert Henry Band’s first release on all the platforms so I hope this is just the beginning. This is only the appetizer course and I now want an entire entree of what Robert Henry is serving up.
The last song on this EP, Something Better takes me right back to 1971 when honky tonk reigned supreme. If fits right in there with Buck, Willie, Waylon, and Johnny. This is a song about a stormy relationship. This song was penned by the Robert Henry Band drummer, Jake Mauro. Unfortunately, the other party in this romance wants out to find “Something Better” and Jake, being the generous fella that he is, is willing to let her go. Even though he still is in love, he doesn’t want to be hanging on a thread. As perfect a country song as you can get.
It seems that no real country artist can exist without making a statement about the current state of main stream country. Storm The Gate is pretty self explanatory. It’s time for a changing of the guard or to “Storm The Gate”. The days when outlaw country was supported by the Nashville elite is now over. And in it’s place was put something that barely resembles country music. Robert knows a thing or two about country music and he also knows the right accompaniments to make a country classic. Another song with gorgeous twang. “They’ve torn down and paved over all the roots that run so deep, don’t that make it kind of hard to grow?” Well stated, Mr. Henry.
In The Works, the title track is a really nice little country ditty, chock full of honky tonk piano, pedal steel, and string bending guitar. As far as the piano goes. I have to say, that is the true standout on this track. Absolute ear candy. It has a little bit of that cosmic cowboy sound of Laurel Canyon, back in the day. In the works is about being bullshitted, plain and simple. That phrase has gone viral and is used all the time to placate people. Q: when will there be a vaccine for COVID 19? A: It’s in the works. Q: when will there be a plan to promote racial harmony in this country? A: It’s in the works. Q: When will the Robert Henry Band release a full length album? A: It’s in the works.
This EP, while only containing six songs, packs a real wallop. It is pure honky tonk, circa early to mid 70s. I can’t wait for the day when I can see all these songs live performed by Robert Henry and company. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for that. In the meantime, I have these songs that are as good as any outlaw country release I have heard in a long while. Anyone who claims to love real classic country needs to git yer hands on this, pronto!