1. Road To You
2. Rodeo Girl
3. Alone Again Tonight
4. Lions Of Kandahar
5. All Looks The Same
6. Thank My Mother’s God
7. Break My Heart
8. Run Into You
9. Stranger Tonight
10. Hold This Town Together
11. Long Time Comin’
Micky & The Motorcars (MMC) return with their 7th studio album, their first since 2014’s ‘Hearts From Above’ which did not connect with me as much as their earlier material. ‘Long Time Comin’’ has found a sweet spot with me though that started with the very first listen. These 11 songs channel their red dirt legacy and add songs that I immediately want to hear in the live setting. I first heard MMC when they opened for Reckless Kelly in Arizona one year and was immediately hooked on their music. It is not just one thing that drew me to them, but the combination of the music with the awesome lyrics that take the songs to another level. This new album checks every box for me.
Kicking off with the catchy hook laden ‘Road To You’ where the lyrics paint the picture better than any movie or tv show ever could. From the first listen, I was wanting to sing the verses and the chorus at the top of my lungs. ‘I’m a little bit North of the heart of Texas but I’m carrying yours with me’ being one of the standout lines here. This red dirt rocker needs to take up residence in their setlist moving forward. The acoustic guitar on ‘Rodeo Girl’ makes it easy to imagine this as a song that will eventually be sung around campfires. The song picks up with the chorus again being another one designed for future singalongs. The subtle electric guitar nuances give the song even more texture. ‘Alone Again Tonight’ mines red dirt gold with the midtempo beat setting up an awesome narrative that Micky Braun sings the hell out of by pouring his heart into the song. The rhythm here is laid down perfectly by Bobby Paugh (drums/ percussion) and Joe Fladger (bass).
MMC take a serious turn with the epic ‘Lions Of Kandahar,’ which tells the story of someone going to war. The lyrics here paint a vivid picture and feel like it is a letter written from someone on the front lines wanting to let everyone know exactly what he experienced both in the field and when they return home. The intensity of the music builds with each passage as we truly feel for the person in this song and the trauma they are experiencing. After the emotional heaviness of ‘Lions Of Kandahar,’ the band slow things down with the excellent ballad ‘All Looks The Same.’ MMC have always featured amazing musicians with Micky Braun (vocals/ acoustic guitar), Gary Braun (vocals, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica) and Josh Owen (lead guitar and pedal steel) rounding out the band. This album simply reveals strength after strength with ‘Thank My Mother’s God’ increasing the tempo on an acoustic frame. There are threads in red dirt where artists such as Cody Canada, Wade Bowen, Reckless Kelly, Randy Rogers Band, etc. pull from, but each artist has their own identifiable sound that belongs to only them.
The tempo remains quick with ‘Break My Heart’ kicking off the back half of the album. The acoustic guitar passages fit the song perfectly with the subtle chorus being as contagious as anything on the album. The band strip it down for the mellow ‘Run Into You.’ This is another brilliant lyrical take as the person talks about how badly he wants to fix an old relationship with the hopes of running into his old flame. Micky takes us on a vivid journey of where he is going with the harmonic placed perfectly in the mix. ‘Stranger Tonight’ carries with it a swaggering beat that I think I would enjoy more in the live setting. There are just certain songs that work that way for me with ‘Mood Ring’ by Wade Bowen also being in that category.
On the final stretch of the album, ‘Hold This Town Together’ is another stellar red dirt rock number with Micky again telling us a story and painting the picture of the town in the song. The chorus is huge and perhaps my favorite from the album. The guitar solo hits the spot perfectly. The bridge is an example in how to craft a picture through words. The title track ends the album on a high with the acoustic guitar giving the song a backyard feel. Micky’s words make this an excellent driving song, which really goes for the whole album.
MMC have made possibly the best album of their career when they needed it the most after a five year gap since ‘Hearts From Above.’ This album carries my highest recommendation with the combination of musical and lyrical excellence raising the bar for other red dirt artists to follow. As I prepare to figure out my favorite albums of the year, this one will definitely make the list.
‘Long Time Comin’’ is released November 1, 2019.
Website - www.mickyandthemotorcars.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/themotorcars/
Review - Gerald Stansbury