Review : Josh Abbott Band - Small Town Family Dream
Country Standard TimeIf you're seeking the throne the King of Texas Music, what better way to make your bid than recording a duet with a former king? That's exactly what Josh Abbott did on My Texas, a collaboration with Pat Green that's chock full of Lone Star State references and a not-so-subtle dig at Nashville music. But Abbott, who co-wrote 9 of the 13 songs on his third studio album, has firmly designed an identity for himself among the Texas scene's heavyweights.
While some country singers talk about small town life, Abbott gives specifics in odes to his west Texas background, such as Idalou and I'll Sing About Mine where he lambasts Kenny Chesney and similar artists with the line "Tractors ain't sexy, and working is hard." Ironically, Abbott collaborates with Jay Clementi, a songwriter, who has penned tunes for Martina McBride, Luke Bryan and other Nashville stars. Both Dallas Love, a double entendre for romance in the Big D and an airport in the City, and the first single, Touch are radio-friendly tunes that would fit in on many Nashville playlists. Radney Foster was a co-writer on the latter....full text
Taste of CountryIf there was any question about Josh Abbott’s intention as a Texas country artist, he answers it on ‘Small Town Family Dream,’ his third studio album. Actually, he doesn’t just answer the question, he pulls a hot poker out of the fire and brands his love for the Lone Star state across his chest, back and arms. There’s no doubt where the Josh Abbbott Band frontman’s loyalty lies.
There are a few moments — specifically during the chorus of ‘Hotty Toddy’ — where Abbott sounds like a young Garth Brooks. Whether or not this is a compliment to a singer focused on railing against “the establishment” isn’t clear, but it certainly should be....full text
All MusicIt's tempting to view Josh Abbott as a half-generation-on version of Steve Earle. Abbott definitely fits into that wonderfully maverick line of Texas singers and songwriters that includes Earle, Terry Allen, and so many others. So, yeah, he sounds a lot like Earle sometimes, with tightly observed songs that tell the stories of small-town, blue-collar Texas folks trying to deal with life, love, and the desperate pursuit of redemption and happiness. It's country, yes, but it's a quirky kind of country, often more like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with fiddles and banjos than it is like George Strait. And as Abbott and his band's third album shows, when it works, it works very well. Small Town Family Dream is a concept album of sorts, detailing the romantic, economic, and restless lives born of growing up in a small Texas town. The first song here, "Idalou," literally introduces Abbott's hometown, and, full of chiming electric guitars, it races into stories detailing love, farming, and cutting loose in a small town, finally summing things up with the richly detailed title tune, "Small Town Family Dream." Somewhere in there Abbott manages to seamlessly stitch in covers of Terry Allen's "FFA" and "Flatland Farmer," both of which add a kind of welcome edginess to things. Abbott knows what he's doing. At this point, all he needs to do is to stay out of Nashville and keep doing it....full text
Country Gig GirlsThe title track, ‘Small Town Family Dream’, co-written with Django Walker sums up the album with perfection and is a great example of his sentimental approach to music. The lyrics are pure and powerful. The song represents a unique place where people are still proud to follow in the footsteps of their fathers and to marry their high school sweetheart. These aren’t words that haven’t been used before, but he pours an emotion into the story that’s unique and personal. “I feel like I’m right where I need to be / I thank the Lord every day, if I get the chance to pray/ For all those blessings he’s given me / Like living with you in our small town family dream”. This was the perfect conclusion to a cohesively devotional set.
Abbott has always been well connected to his songs and that what you need when putting together great albums. His previous record, She’s Like Texas released in 2010, provided him with a taste of success on the national level, peaking at #44 on the Billboard Country chart. ...full text
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