Alongside such notables as Dave Gleason and Kenny Vaughan, Stan Martin is a singer, songwriter and notable guitarist. All three are Telecaster exponents of the highest order. They understand the nature and truth of twang. Martin follows up his last album Distilled Influences with this latest alcohol flavoured collection of eleven original songs. On this occasion he took the advice of bassist Dave Roe and recorded in Nashville. Roe co-produced with Martin and they have delivered a fresh sounding album that is steeped in the classic country sounds of Merle, Buck, Dwight through to contemporary Americana at its rootiest edge.
Roe has gather some notable players such as Dave Dunseath on drums, Pat Severs on steel guitar and John Deadrick on accordion, to mention but three. They are taught, focused support group who know how to make this music work the way it needs to. The opening Champagne Wishes is a steel infused riff that has a power twang that is built around some tight melodic phases and choruses. Like some of the great 80’s to early 90s albums that blended, among a number of influences, some British invasion tautness with a trademark Bakersfield twang. A blend that finds much favour, as it has in the past, with these particular set of ears. Come On Trouble and Little Bit Right also follow this template. There is however a lot of variety on the album with the solid love song If taking a more acoustic route with dobro and accordion. Damn This Town express the frustration of a man living far from home trying to make his way against the odds. A troubadour unable to make achieve his ambition or find a foothold to build a living from. A feeling many have had in trying to follow a that particular dream. As with a lot of country songs these song will seem familiar and are easy too make friend with. Singer Of Songs is about a man who has used up his favours in trying to be true to his hopes and to follow in the footsteps of his idols.
Martin has never been one to stray too far from what is a perennial theme in traditional country music for the subject matter for some of his songs -that is drinkimg. The title track and the self explanatory Reasons For Drinking You Gone, The Note and the aforementioned Champagne Wishes are ones that deal with issues related to the powers of booze. Love and life are the other regular stalwarts of country music and music in general. The closing song Wrapped Around Your Finger talks of a relationship that provides solace of sorts. It that has the rhythm feel of a Paul Kennerley song and close the album with upbeat confidence.
Stan Martin has been perfecting his craft and this, his fifth, album is his best. His vocal are more assured and his playing and integration with the pedal steel and with the rhythm section assures that all flows along with ease. This is something for those who like their country straight up but not restrained to any one strand. Rather this album is an amalgamation of on number of influences delivered as a satisfying whole.