| earl musick reviews
- Review of "Duck & Cover"
The first thing that will strike you about Fort Worth, Texas' Earl
Musick is what an amazing storyteller he is. In his gruff and
somewhat limited (but wonderfully textured and interesting) voice,
Musick brings people and places to life in song. On his fifth
album, Duck & Cover,
Musick finds a musical aesthetic that encompases Classic/Southern Rock
Blues and Americana. Duck &
Cover opens with the Southern Rock/Rhythm & Blues mix of Had Enough. The song is very
danceable with distinctive hooks. Our Own Way combines a low-key
vocal delivery with a great working class Americana arrangement.
Here that we begin to see Musick's yarn-spinning gift in its truest
form; almost as if watching a movie in song. All Wrapped Up is an ode to a hard
working father using powerful imagery for death and life. This is
perhaps the most deft lyric work on the album and is very well written
Musick steps back to the honky-tonk for Razz-a-ma-tazz. This has an old-time
variety show feel to it and is the lightest moment on the album. Burrough's Blues starts with the
premise that the grass is always greener and shows how much worse they
can really get; it's a great story-song set in a Blues/Rock arrangement
you'll have on replay. Earl Musick marches us through a few more
story songs (Molly and Beadreaux; I
Got You; She Loved The Devil Out Of Me) on the way to Darlina. Darlina is the
perfect closer for Duck & Cover,
a high energy mix of Country and Rhythm & Blues with some of the
best honky-tonk piano you'll find in or out of Nashville.
Duck & Cover is
ultimately entertaining, painted in hues both stark and subtle.
Earl Musick has a real gift for not just telling a story but imprinting
it on the listener. You'll walk away from the album feeling like
these songs aren't just an hour's entertainment but have somehow become
a part of your consciousness. The classic mixes of Country, Rock,
Blues and 1960's R&B complete the musical picture. Earl
Musick is too good and too varied to get significant attention from the
Country radio establishment, and is just a bit too down-home for Rock
radio. The internet and satellite Americana stations may come
calling, but with dwindling numbers it seems like that Earl Musick is
destined to be under-represented in the marketplace. That's a
shame, because talent like this doesn't come along all that often.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
From Ft. Worth
Weekly - Review of "Duck
Earl Musick’s fourth album,
Duck & Cover, is made possible by the convergence of local talent
with modern technology available to almost anyone with the few bucks
needed to cobble together a studio. In this case, the result is a
low-budget, sincere, pleasant, country and country-rock listen with a
social conscience, addressed “To whom it may concern.”
The Fort Worth-based Musick isn’t happy with the post-Katrina situation
or the war in Iraq, but he won’t quite call Duck & Cover a protest
album. A dozen songs, sometimes a little uneven, deal gently with those
subjects but also range into colorful commentaries about working-class
life and struggles, love, lust, a confident woman who could strut
sitting down, and more.
Although Musick and his music aren’t likely to ever make it onto modern
country radio’s hit lists, it’s still nice to hear what independent
artists write, sing, and play. The Music Industry could learn from the
motto of Musick’s Reload Record Company: “If music ain’t got no edge,
- Tom Geddie
- Review of "Duck & Cover"
'Duck and Cover' is the
fourth release from Fort Worth singer-songwriter Earl Musick - and it's
most certainly his best collection of songs to date. Musick adopts a
more aggressive approach on the new CD - both musically and lyrically.
The opening track "Had Enough" is an upbeat country rocker backed by
Mark Merritt's stellar lead guitar. "Burrough's Blues" is a throwback
to the swamp-rock sounds of the bayou, while "Darlina" features an
approximation of the Bo Diddley beat in an homage to love and the City
of New Orleans. New Orleans is a recurring theme on the CD. Lyrically,
Musick pulls no punches when it comes to social commentary and the
situation in the Crescent City provides the theme for "Custer's Last
Stand." Musick proclaims, "When the waters rise and people die and
nobody gives a damn, we'll just replace the whole human race on the eve
of Custer's last stand." And its easy to identify the source of
Musick's ire when he sings "The cat is out of the bag, don't you know
the jig is up, just round up all your friends and get out, we've all
"Duck and Cover" is indeed
good advice from Mr. Musick.
Four out of five stars.
-- Americana Homeplace
Americana UK -
Review of "Duck & Cover"
Duck of Earl and
there’s no need to head for cover
Earl Musick’s latest release ‘Duck & Cover’ according to the press
release ‘is not a protest album, but it does address some of the
problems we face in this country and around the world’….and inside the
sleeve notes from Musick tell us, ‘As I write this the great minds in
our country are putting their heads together to figure out a way to
bring a conclusion to the war in Iraq’.
Musick sounds like Steve Earle mixed in with a touch of J.J. Cale – and
for Musick being a prolific tunesmith with original works numbering in
the hundreds I guess he has now learnt the tools of his troubadour
All the twelve songs on this record are self penned and Musick is no
slouch as a musician playing guitar, bass and handling all the vocals.
A full band enhances the sound, most notably by the superb slide and
dobro sound supplied by stable mate Mark Merritt. Musick tackles many
subjects from his own childhood, returning war veterans in his homeland
& and the cover features a photograph from Hurricane Katrina at
Venetian Isle, New Orleans which clearly shows where he is coming from
with the visible inertia that gripped the US during that disaster.
There’s plenty to enjoy here; the music is immersed in American themes
although I’m not too sure how well some of these themes will travel -
but on this evidence he is at the least worth some of your time.
Eight out of ten stars.
-- Andy Riggs
The latest effort from
Texas-based songwriter Earl Musick (yes, that is his real last name) is
an impressive collection of songs entitled Privateer. With a
laid-back sound reminiscent of fellow Oklahoma native J.J. Cale,
Musick's songs reflect the sound of the Southwest. With titles such "San
Antone," "Texas Moon," "Santa Cruz" and "Fort Worth,"
it is clear where Musick's musical heart lies.
| From Rikks Revues
Texas is truly an Americana and Country music haven. This
time let's take a journey to Fort Worth and take a look at Earl
Musick. Over 20 years in the Texas music scene, the name Earl
Musick is well known in the music circles. Privateer shows
his songwriting abilities, the songs are complimented with weathered
vocals that are completely fitting here.
is true Texas music, of that there is no doubt. Earl
Musick has paid his dues in the music biz, from producer, artist,
and even his own record label. The honesty in this 13 track offering is
obvious on the first listen through, and the production (by Reload
artist Mark Merritt) should also be applauded.
you back to the earlier days of Texas music, merged with a more edgy
style. Earl Musick is not your typical country music artist, Privateer
shows traces of hillbilly country rock, the blues, and
even more traditional Texas swing. It's about time, in my opinion, Earl
Musick should shine across the US, and beyond. This is true red
blooded music and it is time the world gets to hear Earl Musick, a
disservice would be made if music fans all over didn't get to
experience the music.
Music ain't got an edge, it's dull" is Reload Records motto, and after
hearing two of the artists from the catalogue (John Gomez being the
first) I would say the motto rings the truth. "San Antone", "Hell
Bent and Happy" and "In A Little While" slightly stand out
from the pack. The bottom line is this is one CD that you won't get
tired of. That is the praise for the music, it is not the best music
ever, but the nod's to past Texas sound and artists, and the down home
feel of Privateer make this CD a refreshing change.
Pete Smith's Reviews (Advertiser U.K.):
Earl Musick “Privateer”
(Reload). Earl is a veteran of the Texas country scene with around
twenty years experience under his belt. For much of that time he
fronted bands but in recent years has emerged as a talented singer /
writer. Earl has a nice easy style both in his writing and delivery of
songs that reflect life as he sees it, sometimes a little of beam and
maybe left of centre but always infinitely interesting and
entertaining. Check out the impish humour of “Hell Bent And Happy”, the
swing of “Texas Moon” and the trip down to “Santa Cruz”.
This review was originally written in the Dutch language. An
english translation was provided by our friend in Europe.
Just read a press kit of Earl Musick, whom until
now, totally unknown to me. After hearing the cd Privateer, my
opinion is : this is a very good cd!
Not only he wrote all the songs by himself or in
cooperation with Mark Merritt, this artist succeeds in making an album
of different styles and does not not leave the country path too
far. He used to play with the Unsung Heroes but
than decided to be less modest and started a solo career.
With this 2nd CD it is obvious he is
not a one day artist, rather he has the quality to get far in the
alternative country scene.
mij heb ik een persmap liggen van Earl Musick, tot voor kort een voor
mij onbekende artiest. Na het beluisteren van zijn nieuwe cd getiteld
"Privateer"heb ik maar een mening, "Dit is klasse".
Niet alleen zijn alle nummers eigen werk, of samenwerking. Ook slaagt
deze artiest erin om met verschillende stijlen te spelen zonder teveel
af te wijken van de country zoals wij ze graag horen.Was hij vroeger
bekend als kopstuk van The Unsung Heroes, besloot hij nadien zijn
bescheidenheid opzij te schuiven en als solo artiest door het leven te
gaan. Met deze cd, zijn 2de is het duidelijk dat deze
singer-songwrighter geen eendagsvlieg is, maar een gedegen en goede
fundatie heeft om het ver te schoppen in het alternatieve circuit van
de country. Verder nog even vermelden dat deze cd is geprocuced door
Mark Merritt, en dat deze Mark ook de meeste nummers heeft
Voor meer info over de artiest of de cd kunnen jullie steeds terecht op
zijn totaal vernieuwde site die zeer mooi oogt.
| From RootsTime:
*note* This review is
written in Belgian or Dutch. We've no idea what it says, but
thought it would be cool to post it anyway, especially since they went
through the trouble of listening to it and writing something about
it. If anyone can provide us a good English translation of this
(the online translators simply don't do it justice) we'd be much
Ingewijden kennen Earl Musick waarschijnlijk als die
eigenwijze Texaan die zich al zo'n twintig jaar staande houdt met zijn
familiebedrijfje Reload Records, als studiobaas en als zanger-gitarist
van eigen werk zoals zijn vorige album " done Deal " ui het jaar 1999.
In tegenstelling tot zijn voorganger, die ik als country-funk
beschreef, houdt Musick zich inzijn nieuw album " Privateer " wat meer
als schoenmaker aan zijn country leest, hoewel aan uitstapjes naar
western swing ("Texas Moon") en blues ("Nothin' Halfway -Henry" en
"Bright Amd Shiny Blues") niet voorbij wordt gegaan. Wat blijft is dat
Earl Musick zich profileert als een hardwerkende country zanger, die
met veel gruis op de stembanden zijn liedjes aan de man probeert te
brengen. De beste liedjes op "Privateer" vind je op het einde van de
cd, waarbij Earl Musick met afsluiter "Fort Worth" probeert Steve Earle
naar de kroon te steken. Vreemd genoeg gaat hem dat nog aardig af ook.
Jammer is alleen dat het door Mark Merritt geproduceerde schijfje wat
'dun" klinkt. Goed, Deze plaat die door Mark Merritt geproduceerd
is,vertoont enkele tekortkomingen, maar dat laat onverlet dat Earl
Musick een songsmid is om rekening mee te houden in de toekomst.
*note* This review was
originally written in Belgian or Dutch language. The English translation was provided by a friend
Earl Musick is already playing his part in the
busy Texan singer/songwriter scene for the past 20 years. Most of
that time he was the leader of the Unsung Heroes. But at
the end of the nineties he decided to be less modest and went solo.
As a result, there is Privateer, his 2nd
cd. The predecessor : Done Deal was a success, prompting
more pressings of the cd. We would not be surprised at all when
Privateer has more success. Musick offers us a very varied Texan
musical meal. All the styles are present;
Pleasant Texan singer/songwriter country (San
Antone, Fort Worth, Lines on my Face, Santa Cruz) ; Moderate rocking
songs (Hell bent and happy, Hook line and singer); A bit of
bluesy stuff (Nothing halfway (Henry), Bright and shiny Blues);
Twanging songs (Bye I’m gone) along with some decent ballads (Forever
in love, It’ll take a little while) and even acoustic Texan swing
(Texas moon.) The CD was produced by Mark Merritt.
Musick draait al ruim twintig jaar mee in de druk bezette Texaanse
singer-songwriter scene. Het grootste deel daarvan sleet hij als
kopstuk van The Unsung Heroes. Maar aan het eind van de jaren negentig
besloot hij zijn bescheidenheid van zich af te schudden om voortaan
onder eigen naam te gaan opereren. En als een gevolg daarvan is hij nu
met “Privateer” reeds aan zijn tweede album toe. Voorganger “Done Deal”
deed het immers goed genoeg om zowel een tweede persing ervan als een
sequel te rechtvaardigen. En het zou ons eerlijk gezegd in het geheel
niet verbazen als “Privateer” het nog wat beter zou gaan doen. Daarop
vergast Musick ons immers op een zeer gevarieerde muzikale maaltijd.
Aangenaam voortkabbelende Texaanse singer-songwriter country (“San
Antone”, “Fort Worth”, “Lines On My Face”, “Santa Cruz”) wordt
afgewisseld met voorzichtig rockend materiaal (“Hell Bent And Happy”
Hook Line And Singer”), licht bluesy spul (“Nothin’ Halfway (Henry)”,
“Bright And Shiny Blues”), twangy stuff (“Bye, I’m Gone”), bekoorlijke
ballades (“Forever In Love”, “It’ll Take A Little While”) tot zelfs
akoestische Texas swing (“Texas Moon”) toe. Voor de productie van het
album tekende Mark Merritt.
Earl Musick’s new solo
album is a collection of classy and effortless music, as befits a man
who has been making music for some twenty years now. The thirteen
tracks on “Privateer” are the songs of a true hardcore troubadour,
where you can hear the years - in the playing, effortless and groove-y
without being slick, and in the vocals, gruff and worldly without being
jaundiced. There are distinct echoes of Robert Earl Keen in the tales,
and more than a nod to Steve Earle too. Opener “San Antone” sets the
album tone as it gently rolls along, telling the tale of a post-lover
affair cowboy (well, if he isn’t he ought to be) who can’t escape the
place of his former love. What saves it from predictability is a
jauntiness that suggests that the singer isn’t perhaps quite as
heartbroken as he might sound. “Lines on my face” is the best “It’s
over” song that Robert Earl never wrote. The rolling “Bye I’m Gone” is
a more tuneful “Johnny Come Lately” and also boasts a guitar solo
straight out of “Take It Easy” (only its better). As the album
progresses the songs get more resigned and weary. “Bye I’m Gone” (“I
love you more than you hate me”) leads into “Bright and Shiny Blues”
(“there’s not much that you can do”) until we end up at closer “Fort
Worth” where the singer rejects the rest of the world in favour of
heading back to the New (True) West. A fine record. Three 1/2 stars out
of five. - Jeremy Searle
Roots Music Report:
With a good combination of
deep rooted vocals , a little Texas swing and a touch of southern rock
‘Privateer’ has something for just about anyone. It will appeal to
anybody looking for that singer-songwriter sound mixed with a little
Texas flare. - Four Sstars out of five. - Chad Wheat
Judging from Earl Musick's
picture on the cover of his new disc, Done Deal, I was thoroughly
expecting either a bit of back porch country or some outlaw tales of
hard-won experience. What I got instead was a little taste of DIY done
DFW style. Musick founded Reload Records as a means to record his own
music as well as a way to gain exposure for some of the numerous
musicians that haunt the fringes of the Ft. Worth area, and the songs
on Done Deal exemplify the cavalier attitude and unique sound his
down-home operation revels in. Owing more to Rusty Weir and Simon
Stokes than to Hank Williams, Jr., Earl Musick runs the gamut from good
ol' rock 'n' roll ("A Good Thing Just Got Better") to Cowtown funk
("Caught in the Middle") to progressive country ("American Dreamer") to
western swing ("Doing Things"). Blurring lines between genres and
defying categories like only the inspired, the insane, or the oblivious
are capable of.
Done Deal is homemade music in the truest sense of the phrase. So, if
you're looking for an overproduced, characterless recording, then you'd
best go elsewhere, but if you're in search of some real music -- the
kind that can be heard coming from that little hole-in-the-wall bar on
Tuesday and Wednesday night -- where heart means more than vocal cords,
then Done Deal should make you feel right at home.--JB
Fort Worth Star Telegram 's Dave Bryant:
"Cowtown's Reload Record
Company has released Earl Musick's eclectic DONE DEAL, and it's
easily one of the most exhilarating new albums heard in a decade.
It has everything, from country to rock to blues. Call it Pure
Texas. Earl's vocals are amazing, and the album is enriched by
Gene Scott's wizardry on the steel guitar..."
Music City Texas Publisher / Editor John Conquest
"Just to show that
Austin has no monopoly on unclassifiable or "what the hell do you call
that" music, along comes a Fort Worth singer-songwriter and his "River
Bottom Boogie." With an instrumental line-up that includes pedal
and lap steel guitars and mandolin along with synthesizers, organ and
congas, Musick is clearly doing things his own way, and the end result
could be called country-funk, which sounds awful but is actually rather
effective and interesting. He has a big, clear country voice, and
some strong philosophical material, notably Endless Winds, American
Dreamer and Time Keeps Slipping Away, married to a chunky,
intricate beat, wailing rock guitar and, at least in the hands of
Darlina Musick, surprisingly tolerable synth."
Check out the new video of Burrough's
Blues from Earl's newest album, "Duck & Cover"
(.mpg - 33 mb)