If there was ever a genre of music that I really can’t stand, it’s country music. That being said, I have to say that the music gods must have a weird sense of humor because for about a year, the amount of country and Americana music that’s come my way has increased a great deal. To wit: I did an interview with Jessia Harp about her new album, A Woman Needs. Then, I interviewed Mike Meadows from porterdavis, and now showing up in my mailbox was a CD from Somebody’s Darling. I know that reviewing and interviewing three artists who have casted their lot with country and Americana does not make a deluge, but for me it’s more than I’m used to. Don’t get me wrong, my taste in music does intersect with country and Americana through artists like Dire Straits and the first Lone Justice album. But beyond that, I’m really not the kind of guy you’ll see donning a cowboy hat and doing some line dancing.
That being said, I have to say that the first full-length CD by Somebody’s Darling has won me over. Starting with the hook-heavy “Horses,” the album continues to deliver song after song, a potent cocktail of country rock with blistering guitars, a solid backing rhythm section and the powerfully bourbon and cigarette-soaked vocals of Amber Ferris. But this album doesn’t just rock hard, there are some rather lovely ballads that showcase Farris’ vocals in a much more stripped down manner. Case in point is the wonderful “Chug Chuggin” where Farris sings of those favorite country themes: heartache and woe. But the song doesn’t languish in a mid to slow tempo groove, instead the band ups the tempo for a smoldering ride out. A couple of other standout tracks are “Wind Gone Dry” and “Lonely”(Download) — which must sound simply sublime live. The raucous guitar, the thumping bass and, of course, Farris’ vocals surely makes these songs big time crowd pleasers.
There’s a kind of an out of the box instant likability to Somebody’s Darling debut. The album as a whole is very strong, and they demonstrate they’re players who certainly have the chops, but also the maturity to create music that doesn’t fall prey to what’s trendy. Clearly, their aesthetic has struck a chord with the music buying public (As of this date, Somebody’s Darling is at #31 on the Americana charts, and are climbing at a slow but steady clip). And it’s really not a surprise since the songs have wonderfully placed hooks in both the music and the vocals.
Once Somebody’s Darling starts touring outside of of their native Texas, I’m sure their fan base will grow exponentially. Currently, the band has the unfortunate luck of sharing their name with a couple of other groups, but if it’s powerful roots-based country-rock you’re looking for, there’s only one Somebody’s Darling.