NYCS First Impression: Midland ‘Let It Roll’
Country group, Midland, are known for their cohesive mix of classic rock and country twang, an undeniably catchy sound that defined their debut album On The Rocks. The critically acclaimed debut garnered them a slew of accolades including winning the ACM Top New Duo or Group award and two Grammy nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance, not to mention grabbing #1 single at country radio with “Drinkin’ Problem”. The eclectic band, consisting of lead singer/guitarist Mark Wystrach, lead guitarist/vocalist Jess Carson and bassist/vocalist Cameron Duddy, return with the follow-up to their debut, the immersive Let It Roll.
The 14 track album is chock full of songs that range from Eagles-influenced classic rock, just begging for an open road, to a hint of old school Garth Brooks style. The Dripping Springs, Texas band recruited the best musicians in the genre for the project, including Shane McAnally, Dan Huff and Josh Osborne (producing and writing) as well as songwriters Liz Rose, Rhett Akins, and Bob DiPiero. Needless to say, Let it Roll is crafted to entice the classic cowboy, folky songstress, and ramblin’ man in all of us.
The album starts fresh and light with the wistful title track, “Let It Roll.” This one makes you want to roll down the windows and lose yourself in the California desert, with its layered vocals and sweeping guitars. Equal parts Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, it launches the album with effortless musicality. On “Fourteen Gears” and “Mr. Lonely,” Midland sink into a cowboy’s paradise with stacked steel guitar, pristine harmonies, and rhythms made for dancing on an old wood floor.
Another standout on the project is the beachy, do-me-wrong “Cheatin’ Songs.” It’s a Kenny Chesney meets early Zac Brown Band feel-good vibe, designed for stadium sing-alongs and couples dances. In fact, we think this line sums it up, “steel guitars are back in style / like tears falling from a smile / yeah its been a while since country music loved a fool / and running around was cool.”
Heartbreak washes over you on “Put The Hurt On Me,” a country-western shuffle with a wild, yet painful Spanish guitar. It melds easily into “I Love You, Goodbye,” with its mariachi influences and aching vocals provided by the ever emotive Wystrach. They give country music fans what they love most in the form of “Every Song’s A Drinking Song.” This meandering shuffle moves along almost as if there was a little alcohol involved in the production itself.
Then there’s “21st Century Honky Tonk American Band.” If ever there was an album moment that took you back to outlaw country and hair metal all at once, this is it. Booming guitars, howling vocals, and a hint of twang raise the roof off this rock-forward moment. Of course, there’s a surprise twist towards the end, but only after they’ve sung “And the wheels keep rolling on and on / and I hear them singing some song / ever since hank sang to me I knew I was born to be a 21st-century American band.”
The rocking anthem is followed up by quieter, more emotional album moments “Fast Hearts And Slow Towns,” “Cheatin’ By The Rules,” and “Lost In The Night.” There’s the rambunctious, just-get-drunk number, “Playboys,” that’s sure to be on repeat at tailgates come football season. And, of course, we can’t forget the moment where Carson’s vocals shine on the slow, emotional ballad “Gettin’ The Feel.” It all comes to an elegant, harmony-infused end with the rambling “Roll Away.” The steel guitar shines bright on this stripped track, making for a stunning melody that, even if just for a moment, takes us back to the music of the ’70s.
Midland has crafted a remarkable record, catering to fans from all walks of life and country music, on their new album, Let It Roll.
New Yorkers can catch Midland on September 17th at Terminal 5 for their Let It Roll Tour. Grab your tickets here.
You can keep up with Midland on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Let It Roll is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!
Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!
+ Follow our country music adventures on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook: