Jason Arnold and The Stepsiders 'Crazy Things' Self-Release

If you didn't know from the cover the first notes of this album leaves you in no doubt where Jason Arnold's heart lies. It's in the dance hall's and honky-tonks of Texas, in the music that emanated from those venues in the 50s and 60s, music playing to working men and women looking for a good time. Times change, country music has changed beyond recognition in a lot of cases but it's roots are kept alive by a select few who love and live a lifestyle that not only looks back but also has a future. That future is in writing new songs, playing live and putting out fine CDs. All of which Arnold does. His songs deal with cheating (Just One More Time and the title track), break-up (Cold Neon Stare) and life vicissitudes (Down To My Last Dollar and Hello, Whiskey!) while the covers are from the pens of Willie Nelson (Half A Man), Charlie Daniels (Texas) or Bob Wills (Maiden's Prayer). Arnold has a voice that has the right amount of nasal twang to suggest that he could only be a country singer and his tight band The Stepsiders, with whom he also plays bass are well up to the task and understanding of these enjoyable songs. With fiddle, steel and piano to the fore the ingredients are perfect for that stone country sound. Chances are that, outside of a visit to Texas or the occasional festival gig in Europe, you won't get a chance to appreciate Arnold live. If that's the case then Crazy Things constitutes a necessary substitute, a quick shot of honky-tonk that, while it's not going to change anyone's opinion of hardcore country, reaffirms that for the many who love this music and the era from which it emerged this is a living breathing form that still can be potent.