earl musick


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 earl musick reviews

From Wildy's World - 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 overall.

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 & Cover"

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, it’s dull.”

- Tom Geddie

From Americana Homeplace - 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 had enough."

"Duck and Cover" is indeed good advice from Mr. Musick. 

Four out of five stars.
-- Americana Homeplace

From 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 trade.

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

From Americana HomePlace

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.

Privateer 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.

Taking 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.

"If 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.

From 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”.

*note* This review was originally written in the Dutch language.  An english translation was provided by our friend in Europe.

From Country Recensie:

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.

Voor 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 meegeschreven.

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 obliged!

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.

From CtrlAltCountry:

*note* This review was originally written in Belgian or Dutch language.  The English translation was provided by a friend in Europe.

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.

Earl 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.

From Americana UK:

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

From 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

From Rockzillaworld:

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

From 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..."

From 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"

Click for video!

(.mpg - 33 mb)

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