Your crusty chronicler generally does his own thing. Still, when the folks at Examiner asked for his support for their then new favorite “List” format, it was nigh impossible not to be a little open-minded about things. So, with that spirit of teamwork and unity in mind, your rockin’ reviewer presents this more recent musical series—“Track by Track” in which we (ahem) examine certain select CDs “track by track”.
In this edition of the series, we shall peruse the latest disc by Doug Briney. For those of you not up on all your indie artists, Briney Is an Alaska-born cowboy crooner and musical minister who recently released his sophomore CD Super Country Cowboy. The new, 9-track release is a step up from his debut disc in that here Briney goes beyond covering country hits but delves into songs that were specially selected out of hundreds of songs submitted to him.
(View the pictures to learn more about the music.)
“Super Country Cowboy”
Backed by singer Kristin Williams and some solid session musicians, Briney breaks open the album with the titular track “Super Country Cowboy”. This fun, upbeat song was written by Rockie Lynn, Kevin Douglas and Allen Sostrin. It seems almost meant for him and is the premiere single off the album.
“I Get To”
The second selection is “I Get To”. This is an inspirational song written by Will Nance. Briney sings it as if he wrote it himself. It certainly has a certain attitude to it and works well in terms of how one looks at life when he is younger and how that viewpoint can change through experience and added years of wisdom.
“Pretty Big Deal”
The next number is “Pretty Big Deal”. This one, written by Brad Rempel, also works well in terms of pointing out the proper perspective for the everyman. This song expresses what should be the true joys of being a father. Unfortunately some of those lyrics—described in the song—are as fleeting as the song itself.
It’s followed by the song “Believe”. Not to be confused with the closing cut of Justin Bieber’s 2012 CD, this is an original song by Ronnie Dunn and Craig Wiseman. Here Briney slows it down a bit in a song appropriately accented by some melancholy harmonica by an uncredited artist. It might contain a simple sermon of sorts but it nondenominational and doesn’t weigh down the music at all.
“The Money The Gun And The Bible”
“The Money The Gun And The Bible” fits in quite well as the next track. In fact, if one did not know that this song was written by two different songwriters--DeWayne Spaw and Dave Gibson—it would seem like this song is about the same old man in the previous, quieter piece. Briney chose well here indeed.
“The Choices You Make”
“The Choices You Make” is the kind of cut one would expect from a musical minister. This song by Mark Meckel is downright predictable in terms of the story’s ending. Still, the message remains a timeless, universal one so you can’t fault Briney for this choice. After all, he tries to walk the line between the classic and the contemporary.
The seventh selection is something titled “Eugene Fuguay”. This song also smacks of all of the expected elements of a country song about a forbidden love. Briney chose wisely in not changing the title or the names of the characters, however, because no one would make up a name like “Fuguay”, would they? This one is written by the team of Louis and Ann Kathman, Kurt and Lori McInnis and Blair and Kathi Masters and works because it has a ring of truth to it.
“I’m Up” gives Briney another change to get up. Here he lets loose and (country) rocks it to an upbeat number by Jonathan McClanahan. Let’s just hope energy drinks don’t ever go out of style though as McClanahan couldn’t resist putting in a current reference to the product Red Bull.
The album end-note is the patriotic piece “Unknown Soldier”. This is yet another song that seems to be pretty much a prerequisite for any country artist. It’s an unquestioning American anthem by Tedd French and Bob Dellaposta that Briney does his best to own but not overdo.
Briney, who now lives in Nashville, has a sense of humor about the music industry too. He says: “I like to tell people that I’ve sung at the Grand Ol’ Opry. Of course, it was in the parking lot but some day!”
Overall, if you like indie country music you should check out Doug Briney’s Super Country Cowboy. After a couple of listens you just might “Believe” that it’s a “Pretty Big Deal”.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.