Bad Rivers | Altered Sessions

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Country: Outlaw Country Country: Americana Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Altered Sessions

by Bad Rivers

Bad Rivers is modern country music at it's finest.
Genre: Country: Outlaw Country
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. God Don't Live Around Here
4:26 $1.29
2. 21 Guns
4:16 $1.29
3. Turn Around
3:22 $1.29
4. Fix This
4:18 $1.29
5. Guess It's My Day
3:54 $1.29
6. Mirror
6:00 $1.29
7. Bootleg
4:54 $1.29
8. Breaker Breaker
5:25 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
With all due respect to Kacey Musgraves, the current state of country music will never be remembered as one of the genre’s golden hours.

The country chanteuse surprised many observers when she walked away with the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year trophy last fall for her divine “Golden Hour” collection. But while none of the album’s singles made much of a dent on the airplay charts, it’s also true that the best country music isn’t often found on the radio airwaves these days anyway.

Consider, for example, another recent Album of the Year winner. Chris Stapleton took home trophies in the category for ‘Traveller” in 2015 and “From A Room: Volume 1” in 2017, and his most recent release “From A Room: Volume 2” was one of the favorites last fall until Musgraves swept in and stole the show. Even with all that momentum, Stapleton, who is also the CMA’s reigning Male Vocalist of the Year, has managed just a single hit from his latest album despite the fact it’s been on the market for more than a year. “Millionaire” peaked at No. 9 on the country airplay charts last year. The point is, there’s undeniably a gap that exists between commercial and critical success in the genre as the most successful country artists at radio aren’t always the ones taking home the major trophies on awards night.

It’s into this void that a Missouri trio called Bad Rivers flows. Based in the St. Louis area, the name obviously brings to mind the two major rivers that meander through the region with the Missouri River emptying into the biggest, baddest river of them all – the mighty Mississippi. The name is actually a clever bit of double entendre, however, as the surname of the two brothers who form the band’s core is Rivers – lead vocalist and guitarist, Billy, along with drummer and backup vocalist, Danny. John “Sixball” McCombs, a veteran of the Nashville music scene, rounds out the trio on bass and backup vocals.

The music on their debut EP “The Blue Creek Sessions,” however, seems almost steeped in a brew created from the confluence of those two rivers with songs that hearken back to an era when dirt roads still ran through town and the river was king. The album has a backroad vibe with small-town characters who fit seamlessly into the narratives here – all of which were written by members of the trio.

The album kicks off with the powerful “God Don’t Live Around Here,” a tip of the hat from McCombs to the hardscrabble mining life in the Moundsville, West Virginia, area where he grew up. That’s followed by the stunner “21 Guns” that tells an ancient tale of the singer’s father dying at the hands of the Confederates during the War between the States. “Turn Around” is a plea from one lover to another for one more chance which flows naturally into “Fix This” with, perhaps, that same character expressing confidence in his ability to fix whatever’s broken in the relationship.

The breezy “Guess It’s My Day,” on the other hand, explores the ways in which these same small-town characters find ways to break out of the mundane existence of day-to-day life – in this case zipping around backroads in a pickup truck with a pretty girl who’s all up for skinny-dipping in a local ‘crick.’ “Mirror” slows things down a bit Jamey Johnson style with the singer reflecting on a love lost. He’s still too prideful to ask for forgiveness, but even in the throes of alcoholism, he knows the guy in the mirror has nobody to blame but himself.

From there, the album turns things up a notch again with the sleazy rock of “Bootleg,” a coming of age tale set again in the same post-war era of “21 Guns.” It spins a tale of a father passing on the family tradition of making moonshine to his young son. It’s Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” if it had been set in the 1870’s – yet translated for a modern audience with the help of snarling electric guitars and a jangling banjo dancing throughout the mix. The only thing missing is a Mason jar and a mouthful of sweet Missouri shine brewed from the mysterious Blue Creek in the album’s title to wash it all down.

“Breaker, Breaker” finally closes the set on a lighter note with a jaunty trucker tune propelled down the highway by Jimmie Fadden-style harmonica licks all the while reviving one of the country format’s sub-genres that’s been mostly missing since the 1980’s.

In the end, it’s music that sounds classic with blue-collar characters trying to make a decent living – even if it’s not always an honest one. It’s music that pushes the envelope at times in the same vein as Stapleton and Musgraves while still managing to be more country than anything on country radio. In fact, like those artists and others with similar intentions, Bad Rivers seems more focused on writing and recording music that will stand the test of time critically and artistically. That is to say, rather than bowing to current “bro” country trends in search of a shallow hit, Bad Rivers has made a deep album about real life and real people.

And good luck finding that on mainstream country radio.



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