“I’m more of a hook-loving and personality-driven singer than anything else” says Crosby Tyler. His new album Don’t Call the Law On Me is released on August 31st and lives up to the description.
The influences through and through are classy country music – the likes of Kristofferson, Cash, Silverstein, Nelson, Jennings, Owens et al. The mood is fun – the title track, for example, romps along to open the album, despite the song being about a punch up in a bar and calling the law – or not.
Amongst the subsequent tracks are ‘Trucker On The Road’, ’18 Wheels Of Steel’, ‘Bikers Hippies And Honky-Tonkin’ Cowboys’ – experiences of the road, jukeboxes, shots of whisky, roosters, shotguns, bumper stickers. It’s not just the diesel-driven machines that drive along, it’s also the music that Crosby makes. One of his characters is ‘King of this road”; he’ll be hammering his steering wheel to this album.
‘The Family I Never Had’ is more thoughtful (a more appropriate word than reflective). The track is about his old band mates who are, “Tennessee Bred, Tennessee strong” driving ten thousand miles and playing all fifty states. They never quite made it and have become clerk, prisoner, Jehovah’s Witness – but there’s no self-pity in the track. ‘Peace, Love and Beer’ takes us away from grand-standing identity politics in favour of having a beer together with anyone as “the best damned cure there is” to make the country better and “treat each other all the same” – to my mind, a message that should be practiced more widely.
From a slightly different genre, Randy Newman could write a song which meant exactly the opposite of what it said; Tyler does it here. ‘Stop Bein’ an ‘Ol Redneck’ is a gem of a track, name-checking country music types in contrast to hip hop, social media and deciding lyrically that he should stop being an old redneck – while musically, spiritually and emotionally, this is as entertaining a country song as you can get.
‘Born A Bad Boy’ is reflective. ‘Us Black Sheep Ain’t Like the Others’ is a wonderful kaleidoscope of characters. If you’re reading this in the UK, imagine the TV programme ‘Shameless’ as a country song, with similar insight and warmth for the individuals who are name-checked.
If you know Tyler, or are pre-disposed to this genre, Don’t Call The Law On Me is a belter. If you want someone to understand just why you might want to listen to country music and how it can simultaneously be great fun and insightful, play them the album.
Only the po-faced and soulless will find it unentertaining. As Tyler says of his characters, “There ain’t no better crowd”.
Artist’s website: https://crosbytyler.com