W.C. Edgar, |
Old School Survivor
(Erection Records, 2017)
Veteran honky-tonk musician W.C. Edgar has been around a long time, playing pedal steel guitar as a sideman for artists including Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Dale Watson, Ty England, Marty Haggard, Jeff Carson, Johnny Lee, Whitey Morgan, Lucky Tubb and Leroy Van Dyke. He also served as a member of the cast at Nashville's Country Music USA Show.
His roots are deep in the outlaw movement of the 1970s. The immediate comparisons for his voice and music are Johnny Paycheck and David Allen Coe, but you're going to hear a lot of George Jones in there also. In fact, someone called Old School Survivor the best Dale Watson album that Watson never recorded.
All of those comparisons are a little unfair, however. Edgar is very much his own man and, in fact, uses this album to proclaim his individuality, his authenticity as a country singer in a world of contrived stadium country. Old School Survivor declared his independence from the crowd, his insistence on going his own way by declaring, as several songs do, that if you don't like his music, you can kiss his ass.
Edgar is nothing of not aggressive in putting his individuality out there. The song "Old School Survivor" is "dedicated to Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, corporate radio & everyone else that's really screwed up Real Country Music as we know it."
"Modern Day Savior" goes in the same direction. It's about the death of country music and how he, as one of its last practitioners, is going to form a new church of country music and be its savior. The song points out that country died when the Ryman closed down and "that Nashville music's done left town."
Edgar comes across as a man on a mission, and that mission is nothing less than keeping country music alive in a time of bro-country and stadium country, when the music has been usurped by its corporate owners. He occasionally comes across as a little bit self-absorbed in his approach but on the whole, Edgar accomplishes what he sets out to do: to give us an album of hard-core outlaw music that most definitely reflects a single, strong personality instead of a corporate-crafted identity.
music review by
Michael Scott Cain
21 October 2017
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