Broke Down South of Dallas – A Special Playlist
By Mayor Danzig, June 18, 2020
Below is an excerpt of “Broke Down South of Dallas – that features Joshua Ray Walker and Eleven Hundred Springs:
Joshua Ray Walker sure seems like he’s having fun on Glad You Made It. Sure, the album opens with the stunning “Voices”, a song of loneliness and despair. Yet as the album progresses, Walker leans into the country side and showcases his guitar-playing prowess in ways much more prevalent than it was on his 2019 debut.
“Bronco Billy’s” starts as a moderately ambling waltz before transforming into a honky-tonk dance floor extravaganza led by pedal steel and one hell of a walker acoustic guitar solo. “User”, a song about drug use, is pure Bakersfield country punctuated by some stellar horns while “Play You a Song” is a bluegrass charmer with Walker’s fiery pickin’ again on full display.
“True Love” kicks off with glorious electric guitars that recall the Eagles’ “Already Gone”. Yet the title and glorious intro are deceiving as the song paints a less than optimistic romantic picture – Walker proclaims “What time doesn’t mend it’s surely gonna break” and declares “true love was meant to fade.”
“Cupboard” and album closer “D.B. Cooper” also have a moody 1970’s country rock vibe. The latter, in particular, explodes into a guitar-driven fury (no doubt channeled the country punk ferociousness of his work with Dallas rock quartet Ottoman Turks).
Now this is what country music is supposed to sound like. While “country” has zigged and zagged around them, Eleven Hundred Springs have spent more than 20 years steering the straight and authentic course.
Primary songwriter Matt Hillyer has the right amount of wistful expressiveness in his voice, not mention his songs. Here ‘Tis has plenty of songs about heartbreak – as there should be. Titles like “The Songs You’ll Never Hear” and “Miles Apart” make their subject matter clear while “This Morning It Was Too Late” finds him lamenting a freshly broken heart after a sleepless night.
But this morning it was too late
She moved on like she didn’t have another minute left to wait
And I’m rarely ever up this early, so I’ll take the time to contemplate
All the reasons that this morning it was too late
Hillyer and company also reflect on the benefits of rural life (“Let’s Move Out to the Country”) and life as a musician (“Looking Back” and “All Jokes Aside”). “All Jokes Aside”, written by HIllyer but sung by guitarist Chad Rueffer, is particularly potent. A jovial melody doesn’t mask the sobriety of lyrics that chronicle a fellow musician living life to hard and fast.
The spirit of country music is alive and well with Eleven Hundred Springs.”
See Twangville’s full playlist HERE.