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Sawyer Brown Gives Listeners a Cohesive Musical Experience and Story on “Desperado Troubadours”

There are a lot of steps and elements that have to come together for artists to tell a well thought out story. Sawyer Brown is a band that has narrated many tales over their time with just under 20 studio albums having been released during their around 43 years playing together. Their new album, Desperado Troubadours, released on March 8, highlights how their experience in breathing these stories has helped them elevate their craft.

Desperado Troubadours sounds like the classic country album one would grow up listening to. The smokey, gritty vocals by the band’s lead singer Mark Miller leads to an atmosphere that sounds as if a person is telling a story by a bonfire. Also, the lyrics all work to create a story about exploration, reminiscing, growing up, and a little bit of romance. Desperado Troubadours is able to do what many albums now a day seemingly don’t— the songs all lead to one grand story about growing up and changing. The song’s are entertaining and interesting, so one can listen for them individually, but one would be remiss to not give the album at least one full listen.

Moreover, the interwoven story is supported by how every song on the 10 track project flows together with impressive transitions. While track-to-track the album fits together, the piece is not monotonous; upbeat tracks and softer hits often intertwine on the album.

The album also succeeds in timing. No song runs on too long and the project itself does not overstay its welcome. The 37-minute run time feels as if it reflects the story's needs perfectly. No stone is left unturned and the album leaves room for future development in future projects.

The album opens with “Under This Ole Hat,” a single that is light-hearted track about not forgetting where one comes from and who one is despite being in a changing world. “ Not a clue or knowing even where I’m bound/ But you never need to wonder where I’m at/ You can find me hanging out/ Under this ole hat,” is sung, with members of the band recognizing how despite life’s adventure being ongoing, they have objects that remind them of home. The song, while pure country at heart, has some nice dance-style swingy and breezy elements in its DNA too. Guitars and drums hold the reins of the track, alongside introspective lyrics.

“Wouldn’t Change a Thing,” is a sentimental song about a life well lived. Acoustic and electric guitar blend together pleasantly and help the track balance the fullness and lightness of the instrumentation that many great songs of the past also carry.

“Socrates” is a unique track that lyrical content helps form the story into one that sounds as if a story that had been told and passed down for generations. Production wise, the song is more subdued and soft. The song touches on the topic of evolving beliefs and outgrowing everything that one is taught. Listeners can sense the care and personal nature of the track when hearing the song for the first time.

“The One I’ve Got,” is a country track with some hints of blues influence. The song is Desperado Troubadours at its most sexy, romantic, and cheeky. The track is a charming, romantic standout. Alongside guitars and drums that carry the melody with tactfulness, a tambourine adds fun accents to the song. One could hardly resist dancing to this song.

“This Side of the Sky,” is the album’s heart and acts as the antithesis of the project, reflecting the projects’ core message. The track reflects on transformation of one’s self and the world around them. The instrumentation and vocal performance is more simplistic and subtle, letting the lyrics take center stage. “The sun comes up and it goes back down/ This crazy world keeps spinning ‘round/ The crazy part gets crazier every day,” Miller sings gently.

Desperado Troubadours is a spunky, yet intimate album that is built from the same blocks that makes up many successful country albums. The band  is fearless in letting themselves be truthful and reflective within the lyrics. In a day and age in which trendy songs that blow up and fizzle out in the same day are the norm, the slow-building,  long-term, satisfactory track list shown on Desperado Troubadours highlights why Sawyer Brown has stood the test of time.

Written By Sarah Payne


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