Turnpike Troubadours

Goodbye Normal Street

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On the cusp of breaking out of the Oklahoma/Texas corridor, Turnpike Troubadours have turned inward, hunkering down and honing their hard country on Goodbye Normal Street. Where their 2010 album Diamonds & Gasoline was anchored on several songs with a rock & roll bent -- including a stomping cover of John Hartford's "Long Hot Summer Days" -- Goodbye Normal Street gets into the dust and dirt of Texan country, the songs of Evan Felker often recalling those of Steve Earle or Townes Van Zandt. The Troubadours have a relaxed, broken-in virtuosity -- they're as comfortable kicking up the dirt on "Before the Devil Knows We're Dead" as they are laying back with a summery groove on "Southeastern Son," jerking out tears on the sad "Gone, Gone, Gone," or rocking & rolling a Cajun-inspired groove on "Quit While I'm Ahead" -- and this road-tested musicality perfectly suits the sturdiness of Felker's songs, which never have a wasted word or melodic line. This understated nature can mean that Goodbye Normal Street doesn't grab hold upon its first listen but it is, as they say, a grower, the kind of record that slowly reveals its depths and eventually seems like an album that you've always known by heart.

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