JP Harris and the Tough Choices 'I'll Keep Calling' - Cow Island

The latest release from that bastion of all things real in country music, Cow Island Records, is this debut album from JP Harris and his tight Tough Choices band. The songs are bar-room missives on heartbreak, hitting-the-road and the high hopes for love, life and, all too often, lament. The songs are all written by Harris, who also produced the album, he understand this music in a way that so many on Music Row don't. I'll Keep Calling includes a surfeit of pedal steel, fiddle, baritone guitar and twang - all good. Harris sings in a voice that belies his 29 years. He has lived his life in a way that understands what these songs can mean to all those who hear (and equally have lived) them. A standout is the ballad Just Your Memory, "that's just your memory keeping me company", it uses a classic country premise to reveal loss and regret, as does the break-up bargaining of Take It All. This album is full of great and timeless examples of this music and despite some of the songs negative subject matter the music is vital, vibrant and entirely uplifting. Return To Sender is another song that will have feet tapping and faces smiling. With Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives Nashville has one such flag flyer for all honky-tonks heroes, but now the city has another in Harris and his band, also based in Nashville, but traveling all over the States and playing in bars and small festivals. It's not too big a leap to say that these guys aren't far behind in terms of overall quality and commitment. There is a humour at work here alongside the perceived pain and that makes I'll Keep Calling an album that all hardcore country fans should immediately check out. This music, like all good independent music, needs as much support as it can get these days and this is just one deserving cause. There are many great bands out there that need to be heard. I'll Keep Calling is a damn fine country album, and in this day and age that matters.