Jason Eady is back with the follow up to his killer 2012 album AM Country Heaven. That album was solid country gold, and the title track placed number 6 on the 2012 Keep It Country Kids Best Songs of The Year list. Daylight & Dark is in a very similar vein to Am Country Heaven, never straying from his traditional roots. If this is any sign of what 2014 will bring us, its going to be a huge year for country music.
There simply isn't a weak spot on this album. It has it all. Story telling? Check. Honky-tonk toe tapers? Check. Songs dripping with sadness? Check. Killer vocals? Check. Great duets? Check. What more can you ask for? This album flows through a story of loss that you can hear transpire over the course of the songs. It is a somber record, but still has its moments of fun as well.
The moody songs of regret on this album are as strong as you'll hear in a genre full of great sad songs. "The Other Side of Abilene" is a wistful song with a great melody, but not short on soul. "Liars and Fools" is a peaceful reflection on the similarities between the two with thought provoking lyrics. "Late Night Diner" sounds like it was lifted straight from the 60's or 70's, with its killer traditional arrangement and story. The title track is a mournful song of confusion and doubt, focusing on a man who clearly is heartbroken and losing at life. The two best songs on the album are probably "Whiskey and You" and "Lonesome, Down, and Out". "Whiskey and You" is a tearful confession of a man succumbed to whiskey to drown a memory. Chris Stapleton is listed as a co-writer on this song, which should tell you its bound to be great. The sadness in this stripped down song jumps out of the speakers and punches you right in the gut. Tim McGraw also covered it on his album Let It Go. The two versions are very different, but both are great in their own right. When a song is written that well, you can't go wrong. "Lonesome, Down, and Out" is the other standout weeper. This song has a little more tempo and country bounciness to it, but the lyrics are brutally honest and terribly downtrodden. When a song just comes out and tells you all the thoughts and feelings of the singer like this, it's hard not to be drawn in. It's simple and straightforward, and I love it.
If one thinks this album is all moody and mellow, one would be mistaken. The opening track, "OK Whiskey", is a straight up honky-tonker with wit and creativity, complaining about the diluted beer of Oklahoma, all on top of a musical backing of fiddle and steel lifted right out of the Texas honky-tonk scene. "We Might Just Miss Each Other" is a fun duet with his fiance, Courtney Patton. The two play off each other very well and really create a cool vibe of love and heartache in an upbeat song. It's really well done. "One... Two... Many..." is a silly drinking song that still has a meaningful message behind it. While most drinking songs focus on the party atmosphere, this song gets what a country drinking song is really about. It sounds like something George Jones or Conway Twitty may have recorded in their heyday. "A Memory Now" is another great collaboration, featuring Hayes Carll and Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours. This is one of my favorites on the album, partially because I'm such a fan of Evan and the Troubadours, and partially because it is a really fun song with a cool vibe that perfectly ends a sad story with a moment of blissful acceptance.
Daylight & Dark is a masterful album with a classic country sound and vivid and imaginative lyrics. There isn't a bad song from start to finish, and its a treat to listen through in its entirety. It's only January, and already the Album of the Year category has a strong frontrunner for 2014 and it will be tough to beat. If you like real country music; go get Daylight & Dark, you won't be disappointed!
Standout Tracks: "Ok Whiskey", "Whiskey and You", "Lonesome, Down, and Out", "A Memory Now"
"Lonesome, Down, and Out"
"We Might Just Miss Each Other Tonight" with Courtney Patton