Friday, October 30, 2009

Sean Kershaw & The New Jack Ramblers Do Country Brooklyn Style

I've had Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers' Coney Island Cowboy in and out of my player for about a week or so now. People who know me know this, well, maybe some don't but they will now if they read this. I've been known to spin a fair share of country records when I'm listening to music. I'm a big fan of the bluegrass delight that was known as Flatt and Scruggs. Heck, their At Carnegie Hall record is one of my favorite live records. I'm also a fan of the fine writing skills of Miss Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton among others. It's the small town country girl in me that dives for the country records.

So, with my country girl side on display, I tossed Coney Island Cowboy into my player and listened. It's honky tonk Brooklyn style. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that just yet though. A part of me wants to be snobby and say 'I only want country from the country.' The other part of me says, 'hey now!' The first thing I noticed and was glad of was, that it wasn't the pop country stuff that plagues the charts. That in and of itself was a plus in my book. Score one for Kershaw and his Ramblers. There's nothing worse than country music that is so non-country that you can't tell it from your run of the mill annoying pop act du jour.

The second thing I noticed was that you get the sense, listening to the record, that the band is probably one of those bands that are fun to see live. I can envision rollin' into a local honky tonk on a Saturday night and kickin' up some dirt on the dance floor. There are five songs on the disc that stand out from the pack to me. The song that gets me to tap my feet, clap my hands and leaves me on the verge of dancing is "Little Mr. Train Man." "Already Cheatin'" was working for me until it got to the yodeling bits. I'm not a big fan of the yodel and there are very few I can listen to. Questionable comparison time ... something about the music on "Already Cheatin'" reminds me of the song Stewie does from the Family Guy episode "To Love and Die In Dixie." The title track, "Coney Island Cowboy" as well as the closing track, "Six Days On The Road," also caught my ear. But, the track I like most on the record is, "Crackerjack Delight."

Would I recommend Coney Island Cowboy? Sure I would. But, I'd mainly recommend it for those who already like non-pop country music and to listeners who are open minded and willing to checkout something outside their norm. For my personal tastes and though I've never witnessed a performance, I think I'd rather see them live than listen to them on record. Some things feel better live and my gut says to me, that Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers would get me more excited live. My expectations were a bit high for this effort. I was hoping for something a bit more rip roaring and electric. Electric meaning that shocking feeling one gets that sends shivers up your spine. I didn't quite get that electric feeling I had hoped I would.

For those in the New York area you can catch Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers at Hill Country on November 28. Swing by and check them out.

In the meantime, have a listen to them for yourselves.

"Coney Island Cowboy"
"Crackerjack Delight"
Track Listing
  • Old Hollow Tree
  • Piggy In The Middle
  • Coney Island Cowboy
  • Already Cheatin'
  • Bigshot Of The Honkytonk
  • When The Sheriff Comes To Town
  • Moonlight Eyes
  • Little Mr. Train Man
  • Honkytonk Special
  • Crackerjack Delight
  • The Trucker & The Tranny
  • Get Real Gone
  • Woke Up Dead
  • Six Days On The Road