Grant Langston - Stand Up Man
Owain Paciuszko 12/08/2009
Looking at the cover, reading the track titles (Burt Reynolds Movie Brawl anyone?), it's not going to take a psychic to predict what kind of music is going to be housed on this eleven track LP. Perhaps this wouldn't fill a county and western fan with dread, but I'm not too big on the genre myself, and almost feel a little guilty reviewing this CD. The best I can really compare this to is a type of music I'd usually avoid, sure certain artists like Ryan Adams and Ben Kweller dabble in a kind of folk Americana that takes its cues from country and western, but on this album we're drifting closer to the kind of stuff they expected from the Good Ol' Boys in John Landis' cult comedy The Blues Brothers and I'm here with as much trepidation and fear as Jake and Elwood Blues.
Born and raised in a small Alabama town isn't what brought Langston to this stetson strutting guitar sound, it was a move to Los Angeles that sent him back, stylistically, to his home's musical root. Langston cites artists such as Dwight Yokum and Johnny Cash as the artists that showed him how country music should be done, their establishment challenging style sort of tussles with his earlier rock dreams and the more traditional Nashville sound he was 'force-fed' and the results are occasionally interesting if generally inoffensive; often laced with a sense of humour that kind of nudges awkwardly close to flimsy parody - especially on Shiner Bock and Vicodin.
Ultimately this CD sounds almost exactly how I imagined it to, not so deeply submerged in the wrangler wearing line dancing sound of my nightmares, neither does it quite reach that alt-country sound that I often enjoy. Langston lands somewhere in the middle, and how you respond to that is probably entirely dependent on your own country music leanings.