Various Artists

Mud Digger, Vol. 3

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Colt Ford's country narratives have brought him the label "country rap," and although that's not exactly what he does, he recognizes that outlaw country and urban rap are really going on about the same things when you get right down to it, and as a drummer, he's fully aware of how to use urban beats and rhythms. He's also a sharp businessman -- he runs his own label, Average Joe's, and he understands that you can sell as many CDs at a mud bog fest as you can at a mall. This set is the third volume in a series of Average Joe's samplers that spotlight the kind of outdoor metal honky tonk that Ford (and the Mud Digger brand) favors. Highlights this time around include Ford and JJ Lawhorn's "Drop Zone," which has long been the theme song for television's Outdoor Channel, a remix of "Kickin Up Mud" from the Lacs and Trick Pony's Ira Dean, JB and the Moonshine Band's boisterous "More Beer for Breakfast," and the appropriate set opener, Lenny Cooper's "Mud Bog Paint Job." This is country music at a physical level, as much about spinning tires, pounding beers, beating odds, and plowing forward as it is about broken hearts, and in that sense at least, it might be a truer American form of 21st century country than most of what comes out of Nashville. This is country music to be played outdoors in the country, with everyone off work for the weekend and having fun, and it's not quiet and reflective. It's hard to mud bog in the living room, after all, especially when the kids are asleep.

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