Roots rock band The Magpie Salute released its third full-length studio recording Friday, and the 12-song record is an enjoyable follow-up to the band’s 2018 album High Water. Throughout the course of the record, audiences get musical arrangements that easily liken themselves to works from the likes of The Allman Brothers Band and its offshoot acts – The Derek Trucks Band and Tedeschi Trucks Band – as well as hints of Black Crowes. The Black Crowes comparison should come as no surprise, considering the fact The Magpie Salute members Chris Robinson, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien also performed and recorded together as part of Black Crowes. The album’s lyrical content offers audiences just as much to enjoy as its familiar roots tock sound. ‘Gimme Something,’ which comes early in the album’s run is just one of the songs featured in the album that supports the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. The same applies to ‘Lost Boy,’ which is featured later in the album’s run, and ‘You And I,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midway point. Each song shows in its own way why the band’s continued familiar roots rock sound and its respective lyrical content is so important to the album’s whole. When each of the songs is considered with the rest of the album’s works, the whole of High Water II proves to be another record from The Magpie Salute into which listeners will enjoy “diving.” Yes, that terrible pun was intended.
The Magpie Salute’s second High Water album and third overall album is another impressive recording from the roots rock super group, which features members of Black Crowes and the Chris Robinson Band. That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content. That is proven early on in the 47-minute record’s run in the form of ‘Gimme Something.’ This song’s musical arrangement is driven largely by the time keeping of drummer Joe Magistro and keyboardist Matt Slocum. Pipien’s work on the bass joins with the work of Magistro and Slocum to make the song even more infectious while Robinson’s gravelly vocal delivery adds even more of a unique touch to the song. Those lines, joined with the mtulti-guitar approach to the song, makes the arrangement in whole a work that is certain to become a fan favorite both on disc and in live settings. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, of course. The song’s lyrical content sits against that catchy, mid-tempo arrangement to add to the song’s interest.
Robinson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I wanna see summer skies around me/To hit my soul when that beam of light comes shining down (Only you can see this)/Ph, the pressure fills me/The clouds, they light up the night sky/The moon, it hangs like a portrait of me facing upside down (You don’t believe it)/The ground is shifting/Gimme something/To take me far away from here/Gimme something/To lift this cloud/Gimme something/Got to take me higher/Gimme something/Deliver me now.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “This world could be such a beautiful baby/But the politik disease keeps driving us underground (I don’t believe it)/We cannot accept it/Long is the day and Long is the night/I light the way ‘cause I feel like it’s gonna be alright (No, you don’t believe it)/Never can accept it.” He returns to the chorus again from here before launching into the song’s third verse, in which he sings, “Peace comes your way (ah, well)/When you live by love and harmony (oh, harmony)/And I’ll show you today/these cards I deal/And bring you to my game.” He comes across here as saying that he wants something better than what the world is right now and ho bad things are because of forces such as the people in Washington D.C. for starters. He ends by reminding listeners that things can be better if people would just come together. Sure, this is hardly the first time that any band has presented such message of frustration and the desire for people to unite. The thing is though, it is still a message that everyone needs to hear, considering where the world sits today. Considering this and the overall positive vibe in the song’s lyrical and musical content, the end result is a song that is easily one of High Water II’s most notable works and one that shows so well, why the album is another hit from TMS. It is just one of the album’s notable works, too. ‘Lost Boy’ is another entry featured in the album that shows why the album’s musical and lyrical content makes the record so appealing.
Whereas ‘Gimme Something’ presents an upbeat, positive vibe through its combined musical and lyrical content, ‘Lost Boy’ is a much more reserved piece in the exact same way. The song, which features famed singer Alison Krauss making a guest vocal performance, is a deeply emotional work that will tug at listeners’ heartstrings through its very country blues approach. Even more interesting here is that Robinson’s vocal delivery here actually sounds just like the late great Tom Petty. The addition of Krauss’ gentle backing vocals enriches the song even more, making its emotional impact even more powerful. Even more interesting is that while the song is far more reserved than much of what is featured in High Water II, that reserved nature is key because this song really is a ballad of sorts; almost a lullaby of sorts. It is actually a very positive piece in its own right. That is made clear through the lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement.
Robinson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Young man, how you’ve grown/You’re soon to be on your own/And I’ll miss you like I’ve missed most of my life/I see you once again/Much more than a friend/Much more than someone to pass the time/Lost boy, in-between/Seldom heard, rarely seen/Lost boy, let me tell you what you mean to me/It’s okay/to get a little lonely/In no way let it get you down/There’s more than one way/Come on, get to know me/Lost boy, let me tell you what you mean to me.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Not so long ago/I had come to know/The long, dark night/It put me to the test/Nothing I can say/To change the time of day/And you’ll shine a little brighter than the mist/Lost boy, turn around/Lift your head, hear the sond/Lost boy, let me tell you what you mean to me/It’s okay/If you get a little lonely/In no way, let it keep you down/There’s more than one way/Come on, get to know me/Lost boy, let me tell you what you mean to me.” This is an extremely touching work, needless to say. The song’s subject seems to be trying to comfort someone, perhaps a son or maybe even a runaway. There is no booklet with any notes to explain the story behind this song, That aside, it is clear that this song is meant to be a soothing lullaby type work that will put at ease, someone who is going through a lot of emotional strain. That gentle approach, both musically and lyrically makes this song its own unique and important addition to High Water II. As unique as the song is, it is just one more of the album’s most notable works. ‘You And I’ is just as notable as ‘Lonely Boy’ and ‘Gimme Something.’
‘You And I’ conjures thoughts of Country Joe McDonald and to The Allman Brothers through its musical arrangement. The song’s verses are more gentle and laid back, and do indeed conjure thoughts of Country Joe McDonald. The song’s stronger chorus sections are more akin to The Allman Brothers Band’s works. The song’s lyrical content is just as interesting as its musical content because it leaves listeners wondering and talking. On the one hand, it comes across as a love song, but on another hand, it also comes across as possibly a break-up song. This is inferred as Robinson sings in the song’s chorus, “The feeling is over.” This after he also sings, “You and I overcome/Others block our way.” He does also note, in the choruses, “But this feeling keeps on falling over me. When this is considered against the mentions of two people walking under the clouds at night and so much more, one can’t help but assume that this is a breakup song. What is interesting is that while it comes across as a breakup song, it does not come across as the standard breakup song. It comes across in a hopeful tone rather than the typical sad note. It is a good change of pace for such a matter. To that end, that change of pace both lyrically and musically makes this song worthy of its own attention. When it is considered alongside ‘Gimme Something’ and ‘Lonely Boy,’ the trio goes a long way to showing why High Water II is such a positive new offering from The Magpie Salute. When they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that is a wonderful salute in its own right to classic and roots rock fans.
The Magpie Salute’s third full-length studio recording High Water II, the follow-up to last year’s High Water is a strong new offering from the roots rock super group. That is due to its musical and lyrical content throughout, as has been evidenced through the three songs examined here. When they are considered alongside the rest of the album’s entries, the end result is an album that roots rock fans will enjoy just as much as The Magpie Salute’s most devoted audiences. High Water II is available now through Eagle Rock Entertainment and Universal Music. More information on High Water II is available along with all of The Magpie Salute’s latest news and more at:
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