Lately it seems all I can listen to post-hardcore, The Starting Line or The 1975, but today was dominated by the Turnpike Troubadours. I discovered them when I was listening to a Shovels and Rope Pandora station on a whim this week, but it worked out great because I was researching toll roads at the time.

Turns out they’re a pretty amazing bluegrass band, though I’ve learned that’s not necessarily the right term. Wikipedia says they’re “American Red Dirt” which is a new term to me, though I think I can get behind it. What a great way to describe something. Sometimes we all feel like American red dirt, amirite?

Seriously though, the straight-talkin’ lovesick lyrics, copious fiddle and swinging four-four time truly makes you want to whirl around a dirty bar, or barn, in cowboy boots ’til the cows come home. Lyrically, there’s plenty of narrative and scene-setting – the meter, rhymes and references are all quite poetic. Borderline campy, some might say, but I don’t think you have to entirely suspend reality to relate to the scenes of broken hearts in small towns. No wonder their third LP, “Goodbye Normal Street” popped off last year – it’s gotten me into their whole catalog, courtesy a YouTube playlist. I absolutely love the singer’s voice, the key choices and the harmonies. I’m thinking it’s time I get myself to a real roots-y concert sometime soon, because bands like this with many players, much soul and a dirty-party twinge to their down-home twang always put on a good show.

“Well I could go downtown and drink till dawn,
I could sing those sad old country songs,
oh but daylight finds me bored and blue,
the whole damn town’s in love with you
Well the neon signs light up the block,
its a livin’ breathin’ honkytonk,
and your hair’s wet with the morning dew,
the whole damn town’s in love with you
the whole damn town’s in love with you

Well all the cowboys in this bar,
oh and all those fools who play guitar,
well they’re well aware that we are through,

the whole damn town’s in love with you

Well the music pours out in the street,
just clean and cool as a cotton sheet,
well them long and lonley fiddle blues,
the whole damn town’s in love with you
the whole damn town’s in love with you

Well your worn out favorite pair of jeans,
oh I remember everything,
they were things i’d grown accustom to,
the whole damn town’s in love with you
yeah the whole damn town’s in love with you
the whole damn town’s in love with you.” 

~Whole Damn Town 
Turnpike Troubadors, Diamonds and Gasoline