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Shotgun Rider

Palo Duro – 2018 (Torrez Music Group)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Shotgun Rider

Shotgun Rider takes the old saying about playing a country song backwards and getting your wife back to a higher level on its full length debut "Palo Duro." Every song is about a girl and a heartbroken, lonely man either drowning his sorrows or spending another lonely, sleepless night as he pines away and tries to cope with longing, jealousy and loss.

Mirroring the vastness of the Texas landmark canyon after which the album is named, there is a lot of air in the arrangements. Spacy riffs and slow progressions dominate the songs, save for the pedal steel intro on "Steady As She Goes," which is the closest to a traditional sound as there is in the 10-song collection. The sum total has a contemporary feel, relying on radio friendly catchy melodies and hooks. Lead singer Logan Sanford's wide range will have you convinced that Gary Allan is a guest vocalist from the first few bars of the poppy opener, "Me And A Memory." His voice is the best part of the album. It stands out as a signature element through the big, sweeping choruses and delivers the often tedious and depressing lyrics with conviction.

Sonically, the album shifts gears with Latin-laced acoustic guitar on "Time Don't Turn" But the fact that it's not really trying to make any type of statement works to its advantage. For such a machismo moniker, the album is heavy on sensitivity and heartbreak. As much as country music has taken a beating for its clichéd themes, this effort could have benefitted from some pickup trucks, a beach party and a few scorching guitar riffs.