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Midland

Live from the Palomino – 2020 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Midland

As if creating a couple of neo-traditional country albums wasn't enough, Midland temporarily reopened North Hollywood's famed Palomino club to record its 10-song live album. This act intentionally links Midland to Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Linda Ronstadt and all the other luminaries that graced the original Palomino stage. Unlike Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and many other contemporary country acts, though, Midland's music wouldn't have sounded all that out of place during the venue's heyday.

Although a live album is basically unnecessary after only two studio releases, it's still heartening to hear how Midland can accurately replicate its hits and album cuts in front of a live audience. The barnburner, and one of 2019's best country songs, "Mr. Lonely," was simply created to be performed in front of a dancing audience. This recording captured much of the band's interaction with its audience, as well as the sound of a clapping and (sometimes) screaming crowd. Bar band songs require a bar performance to complete them, and Midland is one of our best contemporary bar bands (a compliment).

Midland closes its concert album how it likely closes most of its shows, with "Drinkin' Problem," its best-known song. It must have felt just right to perform this drinking song in a space where many drinking problems were lived out years ago. Sure, the world doesn't need a Midland live album, just yet. This album meets a 'want' much more than it meets any 'needs,' though. However, there are many of us that 'want' more and more Midland music, even if it's a batch of concert re-dos rather than new studio efforts. So go ahead, and let this album meet your unmet wants.