In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “This is straight up country music balladry and heartbreak.”
I’m not sure when the genre of Alt-Country became a thing, but I know I first became aware of it in around the turn of the millennium, thanks to Ryan Adams. He was an alternative radio favourite and every time I would hear one of his solo songs on the wireless, the jock would feel compelled to mention his old band, Whiskeytown. I always liked Ryan Adams singles when I heard them, but never felt compelled to seek out entire albums until the last year or so. And even then, my consumption has been casual at best. But through bands and artists like Wilco, Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell, my appreciation for country, alt and traditional, has exploded over the last few years, which is why now felt like the perfect time to finally get into some Whiskeytown, with Strangers Almanac.
There’s nothing alt about the country of album opener Inn Town. This is straight up country music balladry and heartbreak. Acoustic guitars, a mournful fiddle and vocal harmonies full of road worn sadness, it’s a great start, that leads into the perfectly juxtaposed up beat country optimism of the amazingly titled Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight. (more…)