Sugarcane Jane is one of the music industry’s best kep secrets today. The duo–Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee–released its first album in 2009. Six years later, it has already released its fourth full-length studio effort in the form of Dirt Road’s End. It is safe to say that in listening to its ten total tracks, Dirt Road’s End is one of this year’s best new albums overall. One could just as easily place it on the list of the year’s best new country albums, too. But even that would be unfair. That is because it exhibits more than just country elements. There are also elements of folk, bluegrass, and even the blues throughout the record’s thirty-seven minute run time. The combination of those elements conjures thoughts of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty just to name a couple of artists. The record’s opener ‘Ballad of Sugarcane Jane’ displays the record’s blues influences. ‘San Andreas’ comes early in the album’s sequencing. It exhibits the record’s more folksy influences. And then there is ‘Not Another Truck Song’ in which Crawford and Lee put on display their country roots. These are just a few songs that exhibit Sugarcane Jane’s various influences on its new record. Each of the album’s seven remaining tracks could just as easily be used as examples of why it is so enjoyable. Whether for those songs or the pieces more directly noted here, there is no doubt in listening to each of the album’s compositions why it is one of this year’s best new records overall.
Sugarcane Jane’s new album comes in at only thirty-seven minutes long. Considering that it is composed of ten tracks that really is not very long. Even having barely topped the half-hour mark, Crawford and Lee offer their audiences so much throughout the course of that time. Both through the album’s various musical stylings and its original lyrical content, Dirt Road’s End shows great depth from beginning to end. It exhibits this right off the top in its opener ‘Ballad of Sugarcane Jane.’ Musically speaking it shows its own depth thanks to its hybrid bluesy/country sound. The sound in particular is classic blues and country right down to the harmonica, dual harmony, and twang from its dual guitar approach. It’s a sound that is sadly very difficult to find among today’s blues and country acts. So to hear that sound here is refreshing to say the very least. Lyrically speaking Crawford and Lee have crafted a song that is just as classic. The duo sings about its roots through the course of the song’s barely five-minute run time; 5:09 to be exact. The pair sings, “I’ll follow my dreams to the land of the crow/All the way to the music row/I fell in love when I heard her sing/I’ll pack my bag and my old six-string/Headed south in an all-out run/To the arms of a woman and her daughter and her son/Built this house at the dirt road’s end/That’s just how this story begins/With no regret to the past I claim/Started a band called Sugarcane Jane.” Crawford and Lee go on to sing about everything that has happened since the they formed their act. The story in question will keep listeners engaged and even singing along thanks to its simple, infectious chorus of “She sang la-la la la la/La-la la la la la la la/La-la la la la” set against the twang of the pair’s guitar work. Listeners will even find themselves singing along happily with Crawford and Lee as they tell the rest of their story in the rest of the song’s body. In doing so, listeners will agree yet again that even in the case of just this one song, Dirt Road’s End exhibits so much depth and substance even in its simplicity; so much so that it shows itself to be a clear example of why this record is one of the best new albums of the year.
‘Ballad of Sugarcane Jane’ is a clear example of why Dirt Road’s End is one of this year’s best new albums overall thanks to its simplicity. The simplicity of its lyrical content along with its equally simple yet catchy musical content makes it just one of so many hits included in the record. It’s just one example of what makes Dirt Road’s End such a hit, too. ‘San Andreas’ is another clear example of what makes it such a hit. Considering the song’s lyrical content, in which Crawford sings about life on the San Andreas fault line, one would think that this song would have a little more heaviness about it in terms of its musical content. But that is not the case. It is in fact a gentle tune that conjures thoughts of Bob Dylan’s greatest works thanks to Crawford’s vocal delivery and the song’s use of harmonica, banjo and guitar. For those wondering, Crawford sings the praises of life along the infamous fault line singing, “Life along the San Andreas/Is beautiful throughout the year/The weather she remains a constant sixty-five/And they say if God had a home/She’d be livin’ there/Standin’ on the cliffs above the ocean/The view along the one will take your breath/To turn aorund and see the golden, rolling hills/Where the eagles and the redwoods make their nest/Though sometimes she may get angry/Break a dish/Shake a tree/Crack the road/It’s a small price to pay/For heaven on Earth/San Andreas/San Andreas fault line.” Crawford goes on to sing about the rest of the sights along the fault line that make it not so bad including the small town of Pescadero, its people, and plant life. Yet again Crawford and Lee have crafted a song that is so simple both musically and lyrically. What’s more the duo has crafted here yet another song that is entirely original lyrically speaking in comparison to anything else that is out there today from acts of any genre. That simple yet original lyrical content coupled with the song’s equally simple musical approach serves even more to show why Dirt Road’s End is one of this year’s best new albums overall.
‘San Andreas’ and ‘Ballad of Sugarcane Jane’ are both clear examples of why Dirt Road’s End is one of this year’s best new albums overall. They both serve as clear examples thanks to their simple musical and lyrical approach, and for their original lyrical content. They are just a couple examples of what makes Dirt Road’s End such a standout album. ‘Not Another Truck Song’ also exemplifies the album’s positives. The positives in question are the same as those in the prior noted songs–its musical and lyrical simplicity, and its lyrical originality. Musically speaking, ‘Not Another Truck Song’ is a simple, old school country song. There is no other way to put it. There is a guitar, a banjo, and a two-part harmony from Crawford and Lee. The lyrics are just as simple and original. That is evident as the duo sings, “This is not another truck song/Or some hard time outta luck song/This is a love song for you/Who needs another old truck song/I have to listen to them all day long/There’s only one thing we can do/Let’s let the top down/Head on outta town…Forget the radio/I’ll hum a song I know/A song to make you feel alright.” The duo goes on to playfully poke fun at all of the stereotypical classic country songs that have been crafted over the years. The very fact that Crawford and Lee would use a classic country musical approach as the backing for this piece makes it even more enjoyable and proves even more the song’s originality. It’s one more example of what makes Dirt Road’s End another one of this year’s best new albums overall.
‘Not Another Truck Song,’ ‘San Andreas,’ and ‘Ballad of Sugarcane Jane’ are all excellent examples of what makes Dirt Road’s End one of this year’s best new albums. All three songs serve as such clear examples of why this record succeeds because of their musical and lyrical simplicity, and the originality of their lyrical content. The simplicity and originality exhibited in these three songs is just as prevalent through the other seven songs that make up the rest of the album’s ten-track body. Whether for those songs or for the ones more directly noted here, all ten songs presented in Dirt Road’s End show clearly what makes it one of this year’s best overall albums. They show clearly why it will remain a favorite among fans for years to come, too. Dirt Road’s End is available now in stores and online. It can also be purchased at any of the band’s upcoming tour dates. More information on those dates is available online now along with all of the latest news from Sugarcane Jane at:
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