One more week in the books, one more #FridayFind on the screen! While you’re gearing up for the holiday season next to the fireplace this weekend, there’s only one up-and-coming band that will make you feel warmer than ever and proud to have a glass of whiskey or beer in your hand.
Originating from the near-Austin town of Dripping Springs, Texas, this three-man friend group recently decided that with all of the great country music of today, two things had gone missing: the blues and the bruises (along with the booze). Bringing the alcohol-infused, honky-tonk blues back to country music, ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the Rhythm & Boots #FridayFind of the week, Midland.
Long-time friends and short-time professional musicians, singer Mark Wystrach, guitarist Jess Carson and bassist Cameron Duddy all met up as mutual friends at Cameron’s wedding a few years back and simultaneously noticed a shared passion for old-school outlaw country and Pacific Coast surfer rock. Then, after deciding to take their musical talents into a studio in El Paso, Texas they had more than ten recorded songs and realized that they sounded uniquely progressive for today’s country music. Looking into the future by reliving the past, Midland is the refreshing drop of bitters being added to the overly sweet cocktail that is today’s country music industry.
Throwing on a Midland song is like jumping into a time machine set to some year between 1975 and 1985, and letting the past relive itself through your ears. Being equally appropriate on a springtime front porch rocking chair as on a dive bar stool in deep December, Midland’s music is as dispiriting as it is invigorating and it finally puts the recently-overshadowed minor chord back on a country pedestal. In a time when hit country music is seemingly more and more focused on the influence of the drumkit, songs like “Check Cashin’ Country” and “Burn Out” push the vocals and lead guitar back into the spotlight, replacing the new-age country bravado with the decades-old country heartbrokenness.
Recently collaborating with chart-topping songwriters among the likes of Rhett Akins, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally, Midland released their debut LP On The Rocks back in September. The thirteen-song record is like taking a 45 minute road trip down historic Route 66 with George Strait, Joe Walsh, and Bonnie Raitt as your mic’ed up passengers. Buckle up for sweet harmonies.
Midland’s fans are growing by the day and they are quickly becoming the staple of the Bakersfield country meets Texas twang revival. One thing’s for sure, this band’s future is burning brighter than every neon sign in all of Austin.
Let’s take a closer look at their first LP, On The Rocks:
- “Lonely For You Only” – Starting off the record with a defining tone, this song highlights Midland’s critical sound — Mark’s soul-filled lament over the bar-friendly slide guitar and steady kick drum. Given the title, the subject matter is pretty clear. Feeling lonesome and heartbroken, this twangy track is basically 1980s George Strait reinvigorated. Heads up, classic country comin’ at ya!
- “Drinkin’ Problem” – Don’t fret, this song won’t make you feel bad about your infatuation with getting a little tipsy turvy once in a while…quite the opposite in fact. While we all indulge in the occasional “broken-hearted thinking problem”, (side note: national December alcohol sales must be tenfold what they are any other month of the year, right?) Midland sees a obvious solution to such a widespread drinking problem. As their biggest selling song to date (at 250K+ copies sold), “Drinkin’ Problem” is the rebuttal song you’ve always wanted to write. Pour a cold one and indulge.
- “Check Cashin’ Country” – This song is without a doubt the Eagles’ favorite Midland song. Taking you through a day in the life of “a country rock n’ roll band”, this trucker anthem is exactly what will get you through that long drive this holiday season. Playing shows for tips every night and then hauling the stash from town to town sounds like a tough gig, until you get signed by Big Machine Records that is. Maybe it wasn’t so last year, but nowdays, this is definitely check cashing country. (Midland’s VEVO site also features an awesome acoustic version of this song.)
- “Altitude Adjustment” – This song is the equivalent of Jackson Browne drinking moonshine with John Denver in a Texas dive bar while discussing the fresh Rocky Mountain air. The twangy vocals rising above the twangy guitar make this one of the record’s finest moments, and this track serves as a reminder that Midland is great for any location in any climate.
Plus, hit the follow on all of Midland’s social media accounts below:
“People say I’ve got a drinking problem,
That ain’t no reason to stop,
People saying that I’ve hit rock bottom,
Just cause I’m living on the rocks.
It’s a broken-hearted thinking problem,
So pull another bottle of the wall,
People say I’ve got a drinking problem,
But I got, no problem drinking at all!”
That’s all for today! Use this holiday weekend to go out, drink in, turn up, or hoedown, but whatever you do, enjoy it!