I found these 12 songs beautifully recorded. The guitars chime clearly, the overall band plays with taste & yes, there’s a little 60’s pop sensibility but it’s not distracting. Texas-born George Ducas’ clear vocals have a Jimmy Dean twang not a Randy Travis one.
On Yellow Rose Motel (drops Dec. 6 – Loud Ranch Records) the 46-minute CD starts with the sprightly “Don’t Leave Her Lonely,” & then “Country Badass,” – asserts George Ducas’ style with a twangy steel guitar (Michael Johnson) & vocal attitude of a good ole boy. Entertaining.
Though George wears a cowboy hat his music signifies more the look on the inside front cover: denim jacket, no hat, goatee, with a rock & roll sneer. That’s the spell & country feel of George Ducas as I navigate these songs.
Ok, he’s not George Jones, Willie Nelson, or Johnny Cash but what he offers is fresh, challenging, filled with good melodies & while using some old recipes he’s savory. “Baby Mama,” is more of a rocker reminiscent of Rocky Burnette (“Tired of Toeing the Line”).
Ducas balances his tunes smartly & in a John Prine tradition, Ducas provides “Old Timers,” a beautifully written ballad. Ducas falls into that singer-songwriter realm of Ray Kennedy, Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”). They perform their own songs with vigor & polish, but their hive is raided by name acts who want the honey – they can sing but not play a pen or pencil.
While some songs work better than others the majority are formidable. “I Got This,” is ear-candy “From the first kiss to the last kiss…” simple, catchy, memorable. This is waiting for Billy Burnette or Marty Stuart. But George has it driving hard & scoring.
Produced by George with Matt McClure the band is: Tommy Harden (drums), Mark Hill & Joeie Canaday (bass), with Jeff King, Jerry McPherson, Kenny Greenberg, Bob Britt, & J.T. Corenflos (guitars). George Ducas & Pat McGrath (acoustic guitar), Steve Nathan, Jason Webb & Charlie Judge (keyboards, piano) & Jim Horn (horns).
Lyrically, “Why Start Now,” is clever, with cool rhymes, fiery lead guitar & George’s high lonesome vocals. Its simplicity with well-executed instrumentation that turns into magic. Not everything has to be genius – just cool. This is cool. Ducas does that a lot.
“Cold Bud,” should be used in Budweiser ads. It’s commercial, but it hits with a tight groove & is performed with gusto, not novelty.
“Preachers & Pushers,” is the gem. If sung with just a little more aggression Ducas would be on the fence with Townes Van Zandt & Guy Clark.
The title track closes & is more of a blues than country. “She had a kiss that would burn me straight down to my soul,” & “..what the heart wants makes fools of us all.” Haunting back-up singers, snap of the snare & the punch of Blasters’ type guitars – excellent.
Available at Amazon https://www.georgeducas.com/