Album reviews…. Some say they’re a pain in the butt, I say it’s an excuse for me to jump in the truck, roll the windows down and get lost in the music. Some would rather buy certain songs instead of the whole album but I like to see what else the artist has, what else they sing about, what else they have up their sleeve. In this case there are no sleeves involved, because the album I’m reviewing doesn’t wear sleeves. (Okay only on some special occasions but any other time you’ll see him with cut off sleeves, even in the winter time.) I’m reviewing my buddy Bo Phillips and his Band’s newest studio album, ‘Nashville Checklist’ Before you think “Gah Lisa it came out months ago.” keep in mind some folks might not have it, some folks might not care to buy it simply because they’ve never heard of him or because “red dirt” isn’t their thing. But here’s the deal, I told Bo I’d review the album and I’d give my honest brutal opinion and I’m keeping up with my end of the bargain. Who knows there might be someone reading this review and think “Man I need to go listen to this album she speaks of.” (I doubt my opinion matters to others but a girl can dream right?)
I have Bo’s other two studio albums and after listening to ‘Nashville Checklist’ for a week straight I listened to them to make notes of what I thought. Here’s a recap of the first two; Bo put out his first studio album in 2009 titled ‘Dirt Road’ and from that album we heard his fan favorites ‘Peace On Earth’, ‘Never’ and ‘Perfect Girl’. Then in 2011 his second studio album dropped and from that album we heard ‘Front Porch’, his first #1 song on Texas Music Charts ‘Red Dirt Girl’ and his follow up single ‘Riverbed’. Okay now that we got a crash course lesson in BPB music let’s get on with it(:
One thing I notice about Bo that separates him from other artists is his ability to sing and perform for his loyal fans with emotion. He shows it on his face and you can hear it in his voice. He doesn’t have a poker face like some other artist do, who sing with the same look and same emotion, I ain’t knocking other artist so don’t get it twisted and in all honesty I never noticed it til ‘Nashville Checklist’. Speaking of voices…. while listening to all three albums and taking notes, I did notice how Bo’s voice has changed since 2009. It now sounds seasoned and older. (My Lord he’s gonna kill me for that statement but I’m being brutally honest and he knows I mean well.) It’s only fitting he sings with emotion and sincerity in some songs, he’s most likely lived em. It sounds cliché but any songwriter will tell you they write what they live or how they feel, that’s Bo. Every song but two he has wrote on his own (Can you name the two he’s co wrote?)
On ‘Nashville Checklist’ he let’s the listener in on some of his humor. If you’ve never been to a Bo show or you don’t follow him on Facebook or Twitter then you’re missing out. Bo is open about his thoughts and opinions regarding the sounds coming out of Nashville so it’s no surprise he calls out the obvious ways to hit it “big” in Music City with title track ‘ Nashville Checklist’. He talks about the now more popular Auto-Tune, bedazzled jeans most men are wearing and the most talked about subjects in songs. (tractors, small towns and hunting just to name a few.)
His first release off the album, ‘Her Favorite Song’ has became nearly every girls favorite song. Can you name your favorite song? Most can’t because they don’t have one actual song pinpointed to be their favorite. Most likely a girls favorite song is one that best describes her at that moment or describes her emotion. Bo hits the description on the head:
Her favorite song is a fast one, when she ain’t afraid to die,
Or a slow one with a fiddle when she just needs to cry
She might not have the answer so please don’t take it wrong
But you’ll see it when she hears her favorite song
Another crowd favorite is a song Bo first started playing live before the others and everyone can relate to it. The Pissed Off Clown Song, if we’re censoring then it’s known as ‘Don’t Flatter Yourself’. Based on a true story over a relationship that ended and the person is hurt then they come out in the end a strong person. They never needed the person at all and telling them they were so much better without em. (Remember when I said he sings with emotion? This is one of the ones that showcases it.) In my opinion his song ‘Name and Number’ is the sassy sequel to ‘Don’t Flatter Yourself’, we hear the hurt and the building ourself back up in ‘POC’. In ‘Name and Number’ we hear the sassy and telling the person off that hurt us to begin with. (Both songs would be great karaoke songs…. just saying…)
What album would be complete without your love songs? ‘New Way’ and ‘Me and You’ are just that. ‘New Way’ gives new ways to say I love you to your significant other (This song comes in handy if you’ve ran out of ways and you’ve somehow not made it clear to your significant other that they mean the world to you.) ‘Me and You’ well…. if a feller admitted to me he can cook and hunt and ‘The Notebook’ made em cry well I’d give him a chance!
Then there is ‘Runnin’ Kind’, ‘Bring You Back’ and ‘Nightstand’… I’ll shoot straight with you, I really couldn’t relate to ‘Runnin’ Kind’ and listening to it and asking Bo what inspired it it’s then that I realized that the reason I couldn’t relate is because I’d never experienced what the song was about… So the verdict is still out of ‘Runnin’ Kind’ (Sorry!) ‘Bring You Back’ is not only personal to Bo but to me as well, (and to anyone who’s ever lost someone close to them) It’s well written to the point it describes what you feel when life is suddenly cut short and you no longer have the future with someone but it doesn’t make you cry. (It did me, not going to lie about that!) ‘Nightstand’…. well its a dark song. I cry listening to it. The melody and the story it tells is one that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you feel sad. (Not like depressing but the song, you can picture the scene in your head. It’s like watching a movie as the words flow. I told you, it’s deep!)
Bo gives a respectful nod to The Possum in ‘Jonesin for George’. In the wake of his death, Bo sat down and wrote this song in memory of what country music is supposed to sound like and of George himself. Hearing the first few chords I thought I was actually listening to a George Jones song!
The hidden track not listed on the cover is one that came out of a game… Bo sat in with Justin Frazell, radio personality from 95.9 The Ranch (a station out of Ft. Worth) we hear the entire conversation. The game being played is called ‘Ten words to show your talent’, callers can call in and give the artist one word, the artist then writes it down and moves onto the next caller, so on and so on until there is ten words. The artist is then given a time to have a song written by so they can perform it live on air using all ten words they were given from the callers. (You still with me on how it works? Good!) In this case ‘The Baseball Song’ was born, any baseball fan would love it! Of course, Bo mentions the Texas Rangers but you can sing your own version by replacing the Rangers out with your own favorite ball team. (High five Bo!)
(Note: This ^^^ review of ‘Nashville Checklist’ was written solely on my thoughts and opinions. Of course to each their own! Now if you haven’t bought it, go to a live Bo show or ITunes to purchase it! Bo’s schedule is found on his website, http://www.bophillipsband.com until next time, bye y’all!