Country music and the state of Texas have long gone hand in hand – the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, and Tanya Tucker all hail from the Lone Star State and those roots are prevalent within the fabric of their songs. Roughly ten years ago, a band started to form within the heart of Dallas that is now taking the Texas country music scene by storm and blending the genres of country with garage rock creating a sound that is distinctively their own. That sound has been forever captured on their self-titled debut album that was released on August 23, 2019, and it is a must listen for anyone that claims to love real country music, for even though there are innovative blends of garage rock within the sound of the Ottoman Turks, their true country sound is evident on every single track.
The band consists of Nathan Mongol Wells on rhythm guitar and vocals, Joshua Ray Walker on lead guitar and vocals, Billy Law on bass and vocals, and Paul Hinojo on drums. By listening to the record, you can tell that these fellas have been making music together for quite some time and that they have transcended their roles within a band to become linked as brothers, and that bond is certainly present throughout their debut album.
The album gets kicked off with a thumping track called “Apathy” where the narrator declares that he doesn’t really care about anything, not even his lack of emotions, and while this may seem like a sad prospect, the song incorporates a driving rhythm coupled with some great guitar work from Joshua Ray Walker. The song “Glass Bottles” is the third tack on the album and serves as a standout number. The narrator of the song looks at the glass bottles that greets him at the bar every night as his closest friends declaring “all my friends are glass bottles and they all got famous names.” All the various elements going into the song from the vocal delivery, to the lyrics, to the instrumentation are all excellent and the chorus is sure to welcome honky-tonk crowds to join in and sing along.
Other standout tracks from the record include “My Dog” which incorporates garage rock elements as the narrator proclaims that his dog is his unquestioning servant that will do anything he asks and he dares anyone to cross his path because he knows that his dog will be there to defend him – “I’d be more careful if I were you, my dog could tear you apart like you were a shoe”. The instrumentation is quite heavy with a powerful guitar solo and energetic use of the drums. The track “I Find Myself More Lonesome Every Day” is short and sweet and has an old school country feel lyrically. The fellas sing the song together in unison as they plead for the return of their late spouse who has passed away. The song deals with the idea of eternal loneliness upon the loss of a significant other and the constant remembrance of them being here no more. In contrast to the melancholy lyrics, the song features rocking instrumentation – and it’s that contrast that solidifies that track as one of the most interesting ones on the record even though it clocks in at just a little over a minute long – It makes one wish that it didn’t end so soon.
Another favorite is the track “You’re Only Pretty When You’re Sad”. The song features a narrator who loves sending his significant other into all forms of negative emotions because he finds himself more attracted to her when she’s sad. If one of them is happy than the other one is not and that idea is humorously executed in the song. Overall, the Ottoman Turks are proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the Texas country music scene, and their debut album is most certainly a testament to their talent as musicians and to their bond as brothers – make sure you keep an eye out for them in the days to come. https://www.ottomanturksmusic.com
Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks (2019)
2. Snake Song
3. Glass Bottles
4. My Dog
6. I Find Myself More Lonesome Every Day
7. O C P
8. Can’t Promise Nothin’
9. Beer & Women
10. Hands Tied
11. You’re Only Pretty When You’re Sad
12. Mas Amigos