The Far West - Any Day Now
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Any Day Now (Medina River, 2014)

The Far West

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

If you can mentally hear Sha Na Na playing a country gig with Bob Dylan singing lead (back when he was understandable) then you have a good aural image of California quintet The Far West. It doesn't fit squarely in classic country nor hot, new country; it's more in the alt.-country/Americana genre. The Far West living outside the mainstream fits their individual histories. SpongeBob SquarePants and the Hi-Seas, Dorian Taj and Coldcock Jones and the Shithawks (some of the members' former bands) may have very loyal followings, but they aren't household names.

"Leonard" starts off with the pleasant strumming rhythm of a flattop. Lyrics like "A steel weather vane, rusted pointing north, so the wind only blows that way" are a sly turn-of-the-phrase and, in just a few lines, you've built a picture of Leonard. That's good writing. "Across The Bed" is subdued, relying on chords behind the singer for support. The singing style is Seger-like rushes of words with the interesting sentiment of comparing falling out of love to being as good as dead.

Love is a recurring theme in their music (and how many songs have been written about love?). "These Arms Will Be Lonely" starts with a gentle swell of music, adding in instruments, giving it '60's rock feel. "Walk Light On This Poor Heart" and "She's Gonna Leave Him, Too" tell tales of lovers' woes. The latter tells the old story of a woman (in this case) leaving a man who loves her then hooking up with someone new. When he sees her again he knows she'll leave her new man, too. Their songs are borrowed from life so they're easy to identify with.

"Forged In Iron" is a change of pace in lyrics and music. The instruments are playing some riffs in a minor chord while the percussionist comes up with some interesting wood sounds. It may take you a few years to figure out what it means, but it's fun to listen to.

They are not crooners, but they are storytellers. Their music has variety and interesting melodies, none of the mind-draining padonkadonk thud of the drums and wall of sound of so much "country" these days. Don't worry about analyzing or pigeonholing their music, just let it flow through you and enjoy it.

CDs by The Far West

Any Day Now, 2014

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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