Artist: Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Produced By: BMG Chrysalis
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Recently, I received a country music album that took me completely by surprise. Now, I know that there are country music singers all over the world, so I really shouldn't have been too taken aback at learning that this guy who was crooning like the best of them was actually from Australia. After all, Keith Urban is a well-known Australian country singer. Yet, I was surprised - there wasn't a hint of Australian accent to be found on Black Coffee.
The band known as Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes began their award winning run in 2008 under the name The Wildes with Lachlan Bryan singing lead on songs he wrote for the band. Their first album, Ballad of a Young Married Man was released in 2009 to rave reviews. In 2009, Lachlan Bryan went solo and produced the album, Shadow of the Gun. Members of The Wildes toured with him in support of the album. Early in 2014, the band reformed under the name Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, signing a worldwide deal with ABC Music Publishing (BMG Chrysalis in the United States). Their latest album, Black Coffee, earned the band the Golden Guitar for Alternative Country Album of the Year at the 2014 Country Music Awards of Australia.
Black Coffee definitely has that country sound, complete with rocking guitars, gruff lead vocals, banjos, twanging acoustic guitars and lyrics that paint a picture for the listener...often a sad picture at that. The first song, 309, perfectly describes the scene as a man prepares to murder someone. You get the idea that this guy is a drifter simply because of the tempo and beat which have that train-running-down-the-track style. Big Fish is a lot softer, but no less poignant. In this particular track, someone gets a bit big for their breeches, forgetting where they came from and leaving broken hearts along the way.
You Me and the Blues is a rocking good time, reminiscent of older country tracks about self-destructive partiers and their penchant for getting in trouble while having a good time. Deathwish Country is an incredibly dark track in which the singer travels along the road to despair into a place where nothing you can do is right and you are considered worthless. Metaphors are aplenty in this track - the way I interpret it, the individual in this track is incredibly depressed and entering that point where he is about to act on his "death wish."
I love the rocking blues sound of Dragging My Chain, complete with gospel-like female back-up vocals and a tale of singer who's down on his luck. Black Coffee is an homage to Lachlan's grandfather and the advice he doled out that brings back that traditional country sound. It sounded so familiar that I thought it might be a cover of an older country music star - I was surprised to discover that this was an original Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes track. Change in the Wind is a love song of sorts. The singer admits that things have changed in his life and he owes it to the new woman he has found. Will it last? Maybe not, but might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
The CEO Must Die is the most dark, shocking song on the album, delving into the mind of the active shooter who decides that everyone else is to blame for his lack of success. Kiss Me or Kill Me is a slow ballad in which the singer begs the woman in his life to decide whether she really wants him to stay or hit the road. Forty Days and Nights is a look back on a love lost and the realization that there was nothing he could have done to save it.
Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes have a great sound for a new "alternative" country band. Sure, their are some alternative traits to the tracks on the Black Coffee album, but to me, this band represents the heart and soul of country at its greatest, back in the days of George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, etc. Black Coffee is a great album that fans of real country music are definitely going to want to get their hands on.
Pick up your copy of Black Coffee at https://lachlanbryan.bandcamp.com/album/black-coffee or iTunes