"Best Oklahoma Sound 1999" -- Tulsa World Awards
Austin, TX -- For over a decade, the Red Dirt Rangers have been one of the most popular roots music bands in Oklahoma combining great original songs with spirited covers of everyone from Prince to Bob Dylan to Woody Guthrie. In fact, the title of their new disc from Austin's Lazy S.O.B. Recordings comes from a great old Guthrie cowboy song "Rangers' Command," that the boys reworked as a rock & roll rave up. Since they first started singing this song at a "Tribute To Woody Guthrie" concert in Austin six years ago, it has become almost a theme song for the band, and now with this new recording, it sounds better than ever. It's only one of many great songs that make this one of the most anticipated Americana albums of the year.
Recorded in Austin by Lazy S.O.B. label head, Dave Sanger, and Lloyd Maines (who produced the Rangers' last album), the album showcases the band's strong songwriting talent and unique blend of country, folk, rock and a little of whatever (just listen to "Cadillac Eight") creating their back-porch friendly roots music that is a far cry from many more trendy alternative country bands who have jumped on the left-of-center movement.
Following two well-received albums on their own label, the Rangers return with their best album yet, full of unpretentious rockin' country that owes nothing to Nashville or any alt country scene, for that matter. While this will be the first time for many listeners outside the Southwest to hear the band, Rangers' Command is really just a continuation of what the band has been doing for years. Opening with the melodic "Cold December Wind" all the way through to the closing "The Day The Mandolin Died" this is a record that will appeal to folk, rock and country fans alike and anyone who prefers a more organic sound amid the homogenized sound that populates country radio today.
Other songs such as "Rainbow Rocker," the spirited and funky homage to old hippies everywhere, combine with country swing ("Hey Whattaya Mean"), down-home populism ("Nickels & Dimes" and "Steel Rail Blues"), great story songs ("Arizona State Line") and philosophical homilies ("Neighbors" and "Times Have Changed") to make up a sound that is refreshing and positive.
A bluegrass re-working of Prince's "1999" is just in time for the new millennium, and from the band's greatest songwriting hero comes Guthrie's "Cadillac Eight," from a nearly lost lyric he never put into song. Coming off like a hobo's dream, the song shows the great depth and diversity of Guthrie, and the Rangers remind us that the Okie song-poet is more than the dusty depression-era icon we remember.
With this new album, the Red Dirt Rangers have positioned themselves at the forefront of today's more roots oriented folk and country scene without even trying to be anything other than what they have been for over ten years.
Trends come and trends go, but the Rangers simply play for the love of the music. It shows on every cut here, and with help from friends Stuart Cochran, Alvin Crow, Dale Watson, Jason Roberts and Cindy Cashdollar they have made one of the best records you will ever hear. So, grab your favorite beverage, sit outside under the stars and listen to Rangers' Command; you will feel a whole lot better if you do.