In general, this is not the style of music I tend to review. If anything, from my reviews, you can see that I am drawn to the pull of the other major influence in music, blues. The standard narrative of such things gives the, possibly over emphatic, honor to Elvis Presley for creating modern pop music. This is merely because, the other rock at the time had less impact. The true pop music at the time comes from people like Buddy Holly and the Crickets and the Big Bopper, singers that were more white bread and frankly influential, but boring by today’s standards. Elvis gets credit, and rightfully so, for the incorporation into that music gospel, however that is not the only such transition.
Among the many, Johnny Cash brings the country aspect to the pop. I want to be clear here. There was always country music and its charts and popularity are not in anyway marred by pop music. However, effective country music in the mainstream is rare, especially if it is not fleeting, but influential.
All that to say this, Mac Leaphart fits a very complicated notion in his music. If you gave this to an indie person, Buddy Holly glasses, white label singles, and framed LPs, he would identify with this for it’s deeply gritty and personal garage feel. The music is imbued with the classic country voices of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, or Waylon Jennings. The audio is sharp and every pluck of a string is so articulated that it is percussive. The warble of the voice is heavy and endearing, like a Josh Ritter or A. A. Bondy. If you are a country fan, this seems like the next wave of country which had been glammed and sequinned by the likes of Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum.
The album is addictive and fills the full gambit of country music, from Jesus to lost love, ballad to pop, scorn to salvation, but the album is anything but. It’s polish is in it’s flaws. The album is well engineered, but feels garage; like he is alone on a stool with a beer. This album is wonderful.
To hear his ballad side, try out this track called “Flags, Flowers, and Bibles.”
02 Flags, Flowers, and Bibles
To hear his poppier side, try out this track, “White Shoes and Silver Britches,” which is more in the Alan Jackson line.
07 White Shoes and Silver Britches
To hear the whole album, head to his website, http://macleaphart.com/music.cfm