Nestled within the shadows of the Richland Valley, just south of Clinch Mountain, is the city of Bean Station, Tennessee, and emerging out of those very shadows is a sound that blends the classic moan of Waylon Jennings with the new cutting-edge twang of Tyler Childers. If you are a lover of Outlaw Country Music then you need to know about The Valley Authority. The Valley Authority is a brand-new band with their debut self-titled record fresh off the press and they are quickly becoming a regional favorite.
The band is fronted by Caleb Slade Johnson and features Cameron Kerby on pedal steel, Joey Clemons on lead guitar, Nick Collins on bass guitar, and Andrew Myers on drums. Their collective sound creates a driving honky-tonk force that is here to feed hungry ears craving a mix of outlaw country with classic honky-tonk crooning. The opening track “Pluto” showcases the melancholic side of the Valley Authority with a classic tear-in-my-beer kind of country song dealing with the aftermath of a breakup and the realization that things are no longer roses and daisies. The song features beautiful use of the pedal steel coupled with Johnson’s heartworn vocals kicking the record off to a strong start and it just keeps getting better from there.
The second track, “Good to You”, deals with the narrator pleading to the woman of his dreams that even though he ain’t much, he’ll always be good to her. It features brilliant lyrical imagery as well as fantastic harmony vocals shared between Johnson and Clemons. The third track serves as a standout honky-tonk number called “Working for The Man.” The song concerns a fella who is fed up working his life away and pronounces “working for the man ain’t working for me.” It’s a perfect honky-tonk country song with a message that will be identifiable to any hard-working American out there trying to make an honest living. It’s really a romp of a song with a driving rhythm and sing-along chorus.
Other notable tracks include “Hard Headed” where the narrator discloses his knack of making bad decisions because he is “hard headed and headed hard”. “We Drove 11” tackles grief and longing for lost loved ones. And the final track “I Gotta Know” sums up why The Valley Authority makes the music they make and why they pursue their dreams of becoming country music performers, because they gotta know how far they can go, and I personally think that we are all better off they have taken this path of self-discovery. These fellas are the absolute real deal and if this debut record is any kind of indication of what is to come, we should all keep our eyes and ears peeled for what they do next.
The Valley Authority – The Valley Authority (2019) https://m.facebook.com/theValleyAuthority/