Vinyl lovers across the country celebrated a very special day Wednesday. No, not Record Store Day. Though, that’s not too far off of the mark. No, yesterday vinyl lovers across the country celebrated what is known as National Vinyl Day. And while National Vinyl Day has come and gone, this critic still felt it appropriate to “celebrate” properly. And what better way than to examine veteran singer/songwiter Buzz Cason’s new album Record Machine. The follow-up to Cason’s 2014 album Troubador Heart, Record Machine proves to be a rather aptly titled album. That is thanks in large part to the general sound of the songs that make up this record. The addition of Cason’s lyrics to the album’s musical content shows even more why Record Machine is such a wisely named album. The combination of both elements together makes Record Machine one of the best of this year’s field of new country/americana/folk albums.
Buzz Cason’s latest full-length studio recording is one of the best of this year’s field of new country/americana/folk albums. That is thanks in large part to the combination of the album’s musical and lyrical content throughout the course of its thirty-seven minute run time. This is made clear right from the album’s opener/title track. The song’s laid back country western style sound coupled with Cason’s almost Dylan-esque vocal delivery style will instantly grab listeners. The blatant throw back to music’s golden era stylistically and musically connects perfectly to the album’s title. When partnered with the song’s lyrical content, the presentation in whole shows quite well within itself just how well Cason has succeeded in his goal of taking listeners back and showing them what once made music in whole great–simple music and equally simple (and understandable) lyrics. Speaking of the song’s lyrical content, he takes listeners back to a simpler time as he sings the praises of the record machine (record player). He sings, “When I was five/Not long on the scene/I asked my daddy/What’s that thing/He said the thing in the corner/Son, you’re pointin’ at the record machine/He dropped the needle on that vinyl/And right away/The big band record started to play/I’ve been in love with music/Ever since that day.” From here he goes on through the song’s chorus before outlining just how varied his musical tastes are and even directly notes the love he has for his dad’s record player as he sings, “I still got that Victrola/I keep it nice and clean/My friends say that’s the nicest one they’ve ever seen/Now, when my kids ask what it is I say/Children, that’s a record machine/I got Tommy Dorsey records/Sinatra and Bing/I got rock and roll/R&B and everything between/But nothing sounds better than the King on my record machine.” It’s rare for any musician or performer today to have such a wide swath of musical influences; Not to mention that they are such respected, timeless influences. The very mention of those influences alongside the song’s equally classic musical content makes the song even more of an impressive homage to music’s golden age. It makes even clearer why the song was chosen to open Record Machine and in itself why this album is well worth the listen.
Record Machine’s opener/title track is in itself a wholly clear example of why this record is well worth the listen and why it is one of the best of this year’s field of new country/americana/folk records. It is just one example of what makes Record Machine such an impressive new release from Cason, too. ‘Don’t Worry Mama,’ the album’s second track, is another example of what makes this album a modern throwback hit. Just as with the album’s opener/title track, this song’s musical content lies at the center of its enjoyment. Musically speaking listeners will enjoy the song’s hybrid bluesy/country sound. Even more interesting, Cason switches up his vocal delivery style here sounding still somewhat like Bob Dylan but adding in a touch of Hank III interestingly enough. That hybrid sound set alongside the song’s musical content creates a musical picture that while different from the album’s opener/title track, is just as enjoyable. Its difference from the album’s opener actually plays into its enjoyment as does the song’s lyrical content. The lyrical content does so much to accent the song’s bluesy musical approach. That is made evident as Cason sings, “Well I have my honey/Got my car/Got a little money and a old guitar/There ain’t much that I’m a be leavin’ behind/Don’t worry momma/Your boy’s gonna be fine/I’ll get a little job as soon as I’m able/My sweet thing/She can wait on tables/I’ll play for tips/And we can howl at the moon/Sorry mamma/But I won’t be home real soon.” Looking at this, Cason is throwing back just as much in this case, too. There is almost no one that sings such classic style lyrics today even in the blues community. That being the case, it makes this song even more of a perfect fit for Record Machine and even more proof of why Record Machine is in whole such an enjoyable record for listeners.
Both ‘Record Machine’ and ‘Don’t Worry Mama’ are clear examples of what makes Buzz Cason’s new LP enjoyable for anyone wanting to take a trip back to the music industry’s golden age. Both songs throw back wonderfully to that era. At the same time, both songs stand out from one another so starkly in terms of their musical and lyrical content. Taking all of that into consideration both songs show clearly in their own way why Record Machine is one of the best of this year’s field of new country/americana/folk records. Of course they are not the only examples of what makes this record one of the most standout collections within the worlds of country, americana, and folk. ‘Overload,’ which comes late in the album’s sequence, is one more example of what makes Record Machine such a surprisingly enjoyable record. The song’s musical content exhibits clear influences from the likes of both Eagles and Creedence Clearwater while the seeming commentary contained in the song’s lyrical content presents its own sensibility within the composition. That sensibility is put on display as he sings, “Can it be/I’ve done too much/Or maybe not enough/And I don’t have to hit the lottery to win/Can it be/The world’s gone bad/Or is it just something I had/That made me want to start all over again/Look at me/All alone/Woring my fingers to the bone/I sit back thinking ’bout livin’ with this overload/And did you ever take a peek/And take the time to sit with me/So you can feel the overload.” One would think that considering such deep content, the song would have a different feel than it does, musically speaking. But that isn’t the case. The combination of such unsuspecting musical content with equally deep and thoughtful lyrics makes clear why this song is yet another impressive addition to Cason’s new record. Together with the previously noted songs and those not directly noted here, the whole of Record Machine proves to be one of Cason’s most memorable albums to date and once again, one of the best of this year’s field of country, americana, and folk both within themselves and collectively.
Whether or not listeners are familiar with Buzz Cason’s decades-long body of work, one listen to his new album Record Machine will convince every listener that this record is one of his best works to date. They will also agree that it is one of the best of this year’s field of new country, americana, and folk albums both in themselves and collectively. That is thanks to musical and lyrical content together that will take listeners back to the days when record machines (players) were the main outlet for recorded music. The album may be new to this year’s crop of new releases. But it sounds and feels just like it came from music’s greatest eras. That proves true from beginning to end. Record Machine is available now in stores and online. More information on Record Machine is available online now along with the latest news from Buzz himself at:
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