Right from the first few shuffling beats of opener A Thousand Miles, The Rosellys nail a few colours to their musical mast; country guitars twang and resonate, cowboy booted bass lines strut rather than walk and sweet vocals tell of reconciliation with loved ones via long, night time drives. The band may be based in England’s West Country but it is a very different southern landscape that holds their heart.
On this side of the Atlantic, country music is often a maligned and misunderstood genre, one thought of in clichéd terms, of rhinestones, line dancing, pick-up trucks and peopled with characters seemingly out of The Dukes of Hazzard. And whilst that might be true of the commercial Nashville cash cows, The Rosellys follow a very different trail, one that runs from the underground scene on the eastern side of “Music City” then south and west through an authentic country heartland, ending in their home from home of San Antonio and it is probably no great coincidence that this was also once the stamping ground of the biggest outlaws of them all, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt.
This album shows the genre in all its myriad forms, the poppy strains of I’m Not That Old, historical narratives such as Asheville1789 to the progressive experimentation of Memories of Me and You and even emotive torch songs with James’ Song.
If the likes of Gram Parsons reframed country music through the lens of the 60’s counter culture and Ryan Adams did the same as an introspective, urban, country rock renegade, then there is definitely room for a new take on the genre by a bunch of English based interlopers.