Album Review: Chuck Ragan – Gold Country

October 13, 2009

Chuck Ragan - Gold CountryTitle: Gold Country
Artist: Chuck Ragan
Label: SideOneDummy
Released: September 2009
In one word: Stunning

I joined the Chuck Ragan bandwagon pretty late, firstly it’s probably for the fact I never really listened to Hot Water Music apart from a few mp3s I found online and never progressed further than that. It’s not that I didn’t like them I just didn’t get it or was maybe just too young to get it.

In the world there’s a certain amount of happy coincidence, some call it fate but I think luck is the biggest and most important factor in life alongside hard work. So, through these factors I got onto a press-list that enabled me to sample Chuck Ragan’s new record Gold Country for free.

It’s just my kind of thing, I love country and folk music and this really gets it right but in a fresh way. Chuck’s gruff voice and intricate lyrics fit the music so perfectly I’m hooked from the first second the music starts. Ragan has delved so deep into the roots of this music his record is a perfect interpretation and advancement of the genre.

“Done and Done” is my favourite song on the record; it starts off simple and ends up such a great singalong with backwards violins and is such an uplifting and beautiful song it makes me want to burst into tears.

The thing that does bring me to tears though is the pedal steel but that’s nothing special, there’s something about that instrument that really affects me and if you let me listen to Gram Parsons for 10 minutes I’ll have shed a tear at least once.

“The Trench” is a like a working-class anthem that could have been written by Springsteen if he wasn’t such a bell-end, the chorus has such a strong chorus that just bring the words power and unity to mind, “Cut ‘Em Down” has a similar feel to it.

It’s not like the bullshit Dropkick Murphy’s put out which is all nice to listen to but so false when they put on their crap Irish accents and fuck around with great songs. I know it’s bringing them all a new lease of life and new audience but please just sing in your own voice – it’s embarrassing!

Coming back to Gram Parsons I’ll tell you that when I can’t sleep I listen to his records, especially the song $1000 Wedding, there’s something about that guy I really just can’t get enough of but recently I’ve replaced him with Gold Country. I want to make the distinction that Mr. Ragan doesn’t make me want to sleep but the record relaxes me so much I can drift off in happiness.

“Ole Diesel” is just like a lullaby, it’s absolutely perfect and I will rue the day someone uses it in Scrubs or Gray’s Anatomy, please don’t ruin this!

I think this record deserves a much bigger audience than what it will get of Alkaline Trio tattooed wankers in Against Me! T-shirts. If this record is sold right he could make it really big – Gold Country is too beautiful for people not to hear it and I want to share it!

© Danny Crombie

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