When you see the term Americana, you only get a general idea of the kind of music you're about to hear although it could be bluegrass, country, or even alt-country. On the new album Laughing with the Reckless, The Contenders play Americana music that is pretty well steeped in country and rock.
"Call Me the Lucky One" is a song that is sure to get your attention. Probably the best way to describe it is to say it's what you would expect to happen if Bob Dylan joined Son Volt on a stage in a Bakersfield honky tonk. The harmonica provides the Dylan aspect of the song while the guitar lends the lonesome Bakersfield sound to the mix. If country stations decided to pick this song up, it would certainly be a hit with listeners not only because it's so well done but also because it's easy to sing along to it.
"Finer Weather" is one of those songs that paints a picture for the listener. It is a mellow song with a piano part that brings The Band to mind while the horns add a layer of soul. The lyrics are what really draw you into this song. At the beginning, the story of the song is about a couple people looking to get out of town because the landlord is at the door. The chorus contains the lyrics, "The sun will make it better. We get found in finer weather." It's a perfect song for your next road trip.
"Save a Place at the Table" has a bit of a bluegrass feel. The banjo isn't at the forefront of the song, but it plays a prominent part. To say this song sounds like Lyle Lovett would be misleading, but there is something in the songwriting and storytelling that brings Lovett to mind.
The Contenders write evocative, thought-provoking songs. Each song is so well-crafted that you might need multiple times listening to try absorb it. If you are a fan of quality songwriting, this is an album you should explore. Laughing with the Reckless (Rock Ridge Music) will be available everywhere on Nov. 3.