Restless Road – ‘Last Rodeo’ album review

Restless Road’s debut album, ‘Last Rodeo’, gallops onto the country music scene with a whirlwind of passion, heartbreak, and hope, capturing the essence of modern country while honoring its classic roots. From the moment the Sergio Leone-inspired whistling kicks off the title track, you’re thrown into a wild-western drama that sets the stage for the album’s gripping narrative and a musical journey that evokes the spirit of artists like Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, the Eagles and Dan+Shay in some style.

The album opens with the title track which serves as a resilient anthem, displaying Restless Road’s bold attitude and emotional depth. The bombastic chorus, coupled with the defiant lyrics, makes it a standout post-relationship song, showcasing the band’s unapologetic spirit. Elsewhere we get a mix of heartfelt love songs, some post-relationship angst and a healthy dose of middle finger defiance too! Nowhere is that defiance more in evidence than on the double-whammy blast of ’10 Things’ and ‘Leave Them Boots On.’ The former infuses a bunch of humour into heartbreak, creating a relatable and fun sing-along experience. The band explore all the reasons why they now hate their ex before settling upon, ‘‘I hate that I wasted my lovin on you,’ alongside ‘questionable driving, alibis and lying eyes!’ The track’s lighthearted approach, coupled with catchy lyrics, makes it a crowd-pleaser, ideal for live performances. ‘Leave Them Boots On,’ meanwhile, serves as a cautionary tale wrapped in a musical embrace. The fiddles and electric guitar add depth, creating a vivid sonic landscape as Restless Road explore a western aesthetic similar to the title track on this ‘steer clear’ warning that every man should adhere too!

Elsewhere you’ll find slick, heartfelt romance and post relationship blues are the order of the day on ‘Last Rodeo.’ ‘Growing Old With You’ (co-written by Lady A’s Charles Kelley) is a tender ballad dripping with sentimentality. This track is a testament to Restless Road’s ability to deliver heartfelt lyrics and harmonies reminiscent of country greats like Dan + Shay. It’s a genuine love song, perfect for weddings and heartfelt moments whilst ‘You Don’t Have to Love Me’ is full of rich baritone vocals and acoustic guitar infused warmth. The song explores love and commitment, showcasing Restless Road’s ability to convey deep emotions through their music in an authentic way that definitely keeps itself on the right side of schmaltzy. ‘Sundown Somewhere,’ meanwhile, paints a hopeful picture of love waiting just around the corner. A Cole Swindell co-write, the catchy melodies and melodic guitar solo create an optimistic vibe, making it a feel-good track perfect for live performances as it channels those Rascal Flatts-style influences in an upbeat and positive way.

Some of the strongest moments on ‘Last Rodeo’ come in those classic break up, post relationship moments. ‘Most Nights’, the album’s signature duet (featuring Erin Kinsey) explores loneliness and longing. The combination of Kinsey’s voice with Restless Road’s harmonies adds depth, making it a standout collaboration that tugs at the heartstrings. Mature mid-tempo anthem, ‘Go Get Her,’ reveals Restless Road’s growth as artists. The song’s smooth melodies, bluesy guitar solo, and anthemic chorus make it a standout track but it’s the consecutive pairing of ‘Could’ve Been a Love Song’ with ‘Roll Tide Roll’ where the real angst and pain on this albums resides. The former blends regret and infectious melodies seamlessly. The track’s blend of instruments, regretful lyrics, and harmonies creates a musical landscape that tugs at the heartstrings whilst the latter, perhaps the stand-out track on the whole album, is rich in atmospheric production, poignant lyrics, and Eagles-esque harmonies, creating a haunting yet beautiful experience. The universal theme of missing someone resonates deeply and the clever multiple meanings in the title make for some mature and intelligent wordplay too.

Throw in some light-hearted, summer-leaning rock joy on tracks like ‘Bar Friends,’ ‘Head Over Heels’ and ‘No Can Do’ and you’ve got a pretty diverse yet eminently listenable-too album with different moods, emotions and vibes going on throughout. Closing the album on a poignant note, signature song, ‘On My Way’ serves as a heartfelt reminder to keep striving for one’s dreams. The delicate melodies and trademark harmonies showcase Restless Road’s sincerity, leaving listeners with a sense of hope and determination as they embark on the next phase of their journey: band and listener alike.

In ‘Last Rodeo’, Restless Road not only proves their musical prowess but also demonstrates a deep understanding of storytelling within the country genre. Each track is a chapter in a compelling narrative, showcasing the band’s versatility, emotional depth, and undeniable talent. Talent is a word worth throwing in here, too, given that the guys have co-writes on 12 of the 18 songs on ‘Last Rodeo’. This isn’t some manufactured studio producer project: Restless Road are a live, authentic and clever trio of singers AND writers. This album is a testament to the enduring power of modern Country music and firmly establishes Restless Road as a force to be reckoned within the industry. Buckle up and enjoy the ride; it’s bound to be a wild one.

Tracklist: 1. Last Rodeo 2. Head Over Heels 3. Growing Old With You 4. Could’ve Been a Love Song 5. Roll Tide Roll 6. Bar Friends 7. Tell Me Not To 8. Go Get Her  9. I Don’t Wanna Be That Guy  10. 10 Things  11. Leave Them Boots On 12. Easy for You to Say 13. You Don’t Have to Love Me 14. No Can Do 15. That Town and You 16. Most Nights 17. Sundown Somewhere 18. Along the Way Record Label: Sony Music Nashville Release Date: October 20th Buy ‘Last Rodeo’ right here

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