Mar 5, 2013

"Raise My Glass" Album Review

I'm choosing to blog today about an album that I can not stop listening to lately.  "Raise My Glass" is the latest CD from Micky And The Motorcars, released August 9, 2011.  "Raise My Glass" is an exquisite collection of songs that range from rollicking rockers to subtle ballads.  The songwriting on this album is superb, lead vocalist Micky Braun's voice wrapping around the lyrics like light rain falling in the Springtime.

For those of you not familiar with MMC, the band is comprised of Micky Braun (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Gary Braun (harmony and lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica), Dustin Schafer (lead guitar), Shane Vennerson (drums, percussion), and Joe Fladger (bass).  MMC is neither country nor rock, but an excellent combination of Red Dirt, Americana, and Texas music with a blend of both country and rock sounds.  Personally, I think they are more country than 90% of the "country" artists on mainstream radio and a Hell of a lot better than anything played on your local station unless you're lucky enough to live in Oklahoma or Texas.

The album kicks off with the title track.  This song flows like a fine wine and as the title suggests, "...I raise my glass to every mistake...I raise my glass every time..."  It isn't a happy song but it's the sad songs that make me the happiest.  There's something about hearing heartbreak in the singer's voice that evokes such emotion.  This song is a standout on the album.

"Far From You" is a sumptuous shuffle about not wanting to leave a lover's side that builds to a beautiful ending.  What amazes me about these songs is that they're not your typical love, leaving, drinking tunes we normally hear (as in mainstream radio).  The lyrics are far more superior and the instruments much more subdued, they do not rule the songs; more so just accompany the singer in the journey of the song.

"Longer Walk In The Rain" is a raw ode to stumbling home drunk and a relationship crumbling.  It doesn't cover any new ground but I love the way it paints a picture of the heartbreak and the character knowing that there's a storm coming.

My favorite song on this collection is "Never Been Out West."  Written by brothers Micky and Willy Braun (of Reckless Kelly), it's a lovely tune crafted about the call of the West.  "Well they say that the mountains touch the sky...far away out west of the Great Divide...and there's fertile fields and valleys down below...and I'm telling you brother we'd be fools not to go..."  The arrangements, the lyrics, this is the perfect song about dreams, longing, and despair.

A little gem is "Big Casino."  Perhaps it's because we don't get to hear Gary Braun's voice very often in lead vocals, a rare treat.  An uptempo song about gambling, bad women, and "...this miserable city of sin..." It rocks with a fantastic drum beat backing Gary's strong vocals, the kind of song you sing to at the top of your lungs with the windows rolled down.

"Odessa Snow" is a fine ballad about being drunk before noon, snow closing the roads, and a "frozen oil rig town."  The song may be about Odessa, Texas, but it very well could be Casper, Wyoming, in regards to the subject matter.  Whatever the location, it's another outstanding track from "Raise My Glass."

The album closes with "St. Lucy's Eyes," a dark, moody song that reminds me of "Hotel California."  I try to refrain from comparing the two songs but it's more of a similarity.  The two definitely do not sound the same musically.  "...Shaking off a nervous dream trying not to think of anything...I'm giving everything I've got just to scare the demons off..."  A delicious song enveloped in mystery and darkness.

If you have never heard Micky And The Motorcars, go do yourself a favor and buy this album, as well as any of their other fine releases.  Check out their website for all the info.  I think there are more great things to come from this band.  I just so happen to have my tickets for an upcoming MMC show, really looking forward to seeing them live.

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