Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music
First, they canoed the length of the Mississippi River. Then they hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Now The Okee Dokee Brothers have returned with yet another new adventure and collection of songs to boot in the form of their new album Saddle Up. The album, the duo’s third full-length release, will be available in stores and online next Friday, May 13th via the duo’s own label Okee Dokee Music. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the Okee Dokee Brothers audiences of all ages will find themselves getting hooked on the music made by these musical “brothers” on their latest LP. That is because Lansing and Mailander have once again given audiences something familiar without repeating themselves musically and lyrically. They will also find themselves just as riveted by the pair’s adventure along the length of the Great Divide presented in the album’s companion DVD. The album’s companion booklet plays just as much of a part in the album’s presentation as its DVD and its new offering of songs. It is presented in the same journal style format as the booklets that were included in the duo’s previous albums. While it is nothing new for the Okee Dokee Brothers, it is still a fun, welcome sight and addition to the album’s presentation. Together with the album’s DVD and its music, all three elements combine to make this album one of the year’s best family records, one of the best of the year’s new country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana, and one of the year’s best new albums overall.
Saddle Up is one of 2016’s top new albums overall. It is also one of the year’s top new family albums and one of the best among the ranks of the year’s new country, bluegrass, folk and Americana offerings. One reason for this is the fact that Mailander and Lansing have managed to craft another original record that boasts the duo’s familiar mix of said genres without repeating themselves once again. This applies not only to the album’s musical content but that of its lyrical themes, too. The album’s lead single ‘Jackalope’ is a prime example of how Lansing and Mailander have managed to keep things familiar yet fresh on this album. In regards to its musical content, the song boasts a clear Johnny Cash influence thanks to the pair’s guitar work. That simple two-chord progression that serves as this song’s foundation also served as the base for nearly every single song that Johnny Cash ever recorded over the course of his career. Given, there were songs that didn’t utilize it. But by and large, those familiar with Cash’s work will agree just how commonplace it was in his work. It is a sound that the dup had not presented in its previous efforts. So to that end, the music here shows why it is an important part of the album’s presentation. In terms of the song’s lyrical content, it is original to say the least. Who but the Okee Dokee Brothers could write a song about a mythical (or is it?) creature and actually succeed in doing so in the process? The song itself is just one part of what makes the song’s lyrical content so important. The secondary message of having something to believe in makes the song even richer in terms of its lyrics.
‘Jackalope’ is just one example of what makes Saddle Up’s general content so important to its presentation. It is just one example for that matter. ‘Somos Amigos’ can also be cited as an example of the importance of the album’s content. Mailander and Lansing delve into the world of Mexican music in this piece. The guys are joined by Carlos Medina and his friends for the song which mixes Mailander and Lansing ’s own sound with that of the traditional accordion-driven sound of so much Mexican music. Yet again these are waters that The Okee Dokee Brothers have never actually waded into before. They succeeded just as much here as with the case of ‘Jackalope.’ And again that success shows at least musically why this album is so enjoyable. Moving on to the song’s lyrical content, the song is centered on the message of friendship. The group presents the Spanish word for friend—Amigo—and even have Medina and company join in to sing of the importance of friendship. It isn’t the pair’s first time presenting a message of friendship in its music. It is, however, the first time that Mailander and Lansing have presented the familiar message in the format used here. Considering this, the combination of the two elements here makes this song yet another example of what makes Saddle Up’s general content so important to its presentation. It still is not the last example of what makes the album’s presentation overall so enjoyable either. ‘Cow Cow Yippee’ is one more example of what makes this album’s musical and lyrical content so important to its presentation.
‘Jackalope’ and ‘Somos Amigos’ are both clear examples of what makes Saddle Up another album from The Okee Dokee Brothers that will make listeners of all ages want to saddle up with the guys for this musical adventure. They are hardly the only songs that could be cited in showing what makes this album’s musical and lyrical content so important to its presentation. ‘Cow Cow Yippee’ is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical and musical content. In regards to its musical content, this song stands out from every one of the album’s other offerings. Musically, it mixes Dixieland elements with a classic country western sound for a song that stands out just as much as anything else on this record. As a matter of fact, those that are familiar with American Public Media’s beloved radio variety program A Prairie Home Companion will find this musical mix to be very similar to much of the music presented on said program. The same can be said of the song’s silly lyrics and the duo’s delivery of said lyrics. Lyrically, the song is just a fun, nonsensical work about cattlemen (not cowboys) and life on the range. The half sung, half spoken delivery of the song’s family friendly lyrics makes one think of APC’s beloved cowhands Dusty and Lefty. Whether or not this was intentional is anyone’s guess. But the similarity is there and it is undeniable. It is a great comparison, too. Once again keeping this in mind, it shows yet again why the general musical and lyrical content presented in Saddle Up is so important to the album’s overall presentation. It shows the duo’s ability yet again to write serious songs, silly, songs, and songs somewhere in between both musically and lyrically. That is clear not just in this song and the previously noted compositions but in every one of the album’s offerings. Now, keeping this in mind, the musical and lyrical content is just one part of what makes Saddle Up such a fun family record. The record’s companion DVD is just as important to its presentation as its general content.
The musical and lyrical content that makes up the main body of Saddle Up is in its own right extremely important to the album’s overall presentation. Even as important as it is to the album’s presentation its fifteen total tracks are just a portion of what makes the album so enjoyable. The album’s companion DVD proves to be just as important to the album’s presentation as its musical and lyrical content. That is because of its own content. Over the course of the DVD’s run time viewers are taken along with The Okee Dokee Brothers on their horseback journey up the Great Divide. Viewers get to see many of the sights that they saw. They get to see some of the people that they interviewed and with whom they recorded songs. For that matter viewers even get to see Mailander and Lansing as they write and work up their own songs along the way. It’s all in rain and shine. The journey in itself is so enjoyable to watch because audiences actually see that Mailander and Lansing did indeed make the trip. On another level it serves as a reminder of the beauty of America ’s national parks. So one could actually argue to that extent that the DVD serves not only as a way for audiences to join The Okee Dokee Brothers on their voyage but also as a video postcard of sorts showing people all of the great places that they can visit with their families. This dual purpose (intentional or not) approach in the album’s DVD shows in full why it is just as important to the album as the album’s general content. It is still not the last important element to note of the album. The album’s companion booklet rounds out the album’s presentation.
The songs that make up the body of Saddle Up and the album’s companion DVD are both key elements in the album’s overall presentation. The songs present yet another healthy mix of country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana that thankfully doesn’t repeat the songs from the Okee Dokee Brothers’ previous albums. Their lyrical content is just as entertaining and engaging with topics that range from the serious to the downright silly and all points in-between. The album’s companion takes viewers along for the ride with Mailander and Lansing. It also serves as a video postcard of sorts for viewers, reminding viewers of the beauty of America’s national parks. For all of the value that the DVD and the songs present to this new album, they are not the only important pieces of the album’s whole. The album’s companion booklet proves to be just as important to its presentation as the previously noted elements. Just as with the duo’s previous albums, this album’s companion booklet is presented (and even titled) in the format of a Field Journal. The whole thing opens with a note from the guys that it presents excepts from the pair’s journals that they kept during their trip. Each excerpt is entertaining in its own right; just as entertaining as the songs themselves. Case in point the excerpt for ‘Good Old Times.’ The excerpt shares a number of flashes from their lives growing up such as: Joe eating a worm, Justin falling off of a sled, and Joe’s wedding. The pair notes at the end of the passage the joy of reliving those memories as adults, which is exactly what the song is about. ‘One Horsepower’ presents another great excerpt in the booklet. One of the guys notes in this passage that, “Grandpa always said, “Who needs a 200 horsepower engine when you can just have the horse!”” Yet again it is a simplistic explanation of the song’s topic. But again that simplicity and light hearted approach makes this excerpt so fun to read. The same can be said of any of the other passages presented in the booklet. Regardless of which one audiences choose, every one of the passes will put a smile on audiences’ faces in its own way. That smile will grow even more when audiences take in the album’s featured songs and the adventure presented in the album’s companion DVD. All things considered Saddle Up proves in the long run to be a musical adventure that audiences will want to take time and again.
The Okee Dokee Brothers’ new album Saddle Up is a musical adventure that listeners of all ages will want to take time and again, just as with the “brothers’” previous pair of recordings. That is thanks in part to the mix of musical and lyrical material presented throughout the album’s fifteen total songs. The music presents a wide mix of country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana from beginning to end. The songs’ lyrical themes range from the serious to the downright silly. The album’s companion DVD takes audiences along with the “brothers” for their latest adventure. It also serves as a video postcard of sorts for audiences, reminding audiences of the beauty that lies across America. The album’s companion booklet adds even more enjoyment to the album with its passages lifted directly from the field journals that Mailander and Lansing kept during their journey. Each element proves to be truly important in its own right to the whole of Saddle Up’s presentation. Altogether, they make this album yet another solid offering from The Okee Dokee Brothers and a musical adventure that every listener will want to take himself or herself time and again. It will be available in stores and online next Friday, May 13th. More information on Saddle Up is available online along with all of The Okee Dokee Brothers’ latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.