The Shootouts - Stampede
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Stampede (Soundly Music, 2023)

The Shootouts

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

You might think The Shootouts are a rowdy country and western band obsessed with honky tonk based on the titles and artwork of their albums – 2021's "Bullseye" and now "Stampede." That notion is not entirely wrong, but they embrace all forms of Americana and country music with a a slight emphasis on Western swing.

The list of luminaries aboard for this effort may be all you need to appreciate their range – Raul Malo, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Marty Stuart and producer/contributor from Asleep at the Wheel, Ray Benson. That's not to diminish the work of the core quartet – lead singer and guitarist Ryan Humbert, vocalist Emily Bates, lead guitarist Brian Poston and bassist Kevin McManus. After all, they wrote most of the songs along with frequent collaborators Alan Moss and Ryan McDermott who also play, along with many stellar musicians, including Mike Daly on pedal steel and Benson's bandmates.

Due to Benson's intervention or quickly accepted invitation to produce their next one, "Stampede" is a quick turnaround from its acclaimed predecessor. The kick off in overdrive, Humbert blasting a former lover with blazing guitar from Poston and Stuart's rapid fire mandolin on "Better Things to Do." Buddy Miller harmonizes with the band on the more reasonably paced country rocker, "Anywhere But Here." And The Shootouts along with Benson's vocals and band members, find their true Western swing groove on "One Step Forward." Lush, breezier strains color standout track, "I'll Never Need Anyone One," with Malo harmonizing along with Humbert and Bates.

"Run For Cover" is flat out, take no prisoners two-minute rock n' roll ditty followed by the gentle acoustic folk-like "Coming Home By Going Away," one of four songs penned by Moss. Poston's blinding speed instrumental title track abruptly changes the tempo again. Lauderdale sings harmony on the jaunty" Tomorrow's Knockin'" featuring tasty tremolo guitar and pedal steel and also on the tear in the beer "Must Be a Broken Heart." To reinforce the strength of their instrumental chops, the reprise the opener as an acoustic closer with Stuart's mandolin again front and center.

The Shootouts has plenty of talent, boding well for a live act. The guests add interesting flourishes, and their high profiles should bring The Shootouts deservedly more attention.


CDs by The Shootouts

Stampede, 2023 Quick Draw, 2019


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