REVIEW: The Shootouts Mix Western Swing with Honky-Tonk on ‘Quick Draw’

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Country music has a lot of branches from western swing to honky-tonk. On the new album Quick Draw (MRI), The Shootouts explore quite a few of those branches.

The album leads off with “Cleaning House,” a western swing tune that brings BR5-49 to mind. Dylan Gomez drives the song with a beat that would get couples two-stepping on a dance floor while the pedal steel provides just the right amount of honky-tonk feel to the song. “If you like that one, you’ll also like “If I Could.” This one moves along at a tempo that makes it impossible to stay still. Brian Poston and Ryan Humbert both show off their chops on guitar while Ryan McDermott matches Gomez’s beat with a bass line the keeps the song chugging along.

“California to Ohio” is a heartfelt ballad about a soldier in dress blues going home to see his wife and family. This is a great story that takes you across the country as a passenger on a most welcome journey. The most prominent instrument aptly is the pedal steel because few instruments can provide the same lonely sound a pedal steel does.

The Shootouts also cover both ends of the love spectrum on this album. At one end is “Alimony”. There’s nothing really funny about divorce, but this song is lighthearted enough to make you smile. In it, Humbert sings about “paying for my mistake” and about how every payday, he mails his money away so someone else can use it. It’s heartbreaking and humorous at the same time.

At the other end of the spectrum is “Must Be Love,” a sweet love song that hooks you with the lyrics, “I never stood a chance. I never saw it coming, but the best kind of lovin’ just comes all of a sudden.” You don’t have to believe in love at first sight to sing along with this catchy song.

This album is a full listening experience. The band gives you pensive ballads, foot stompers, dance tunes, love, and heartache. No matter the subject matter or style, these songs draw you in with sweet melodies and harmonies courtesy of Emily Bates, and rhythms that are sure to get you moving. If you’re a fan of true country music, this is an album you’ll want to add to your collection. Quick Draw will be available everywhere on May 10. Order your copy here.

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