Davis Raines’ new album Turquoise and Silver was recorded at DMI Studio B Delta State University with production by Tricia Walker for Big Front Porch Productions. Along with singing, Raines played guitars, with producer Tricia Walker also supplying the album with keyboards, guitar, mandolin, percussion, and vocals. Additionally, Pamela Jackson provided vocals, Mark MacKenzie played dobro, guitars, and electric steel guitar, and David Conrad played bass, vocals, and guitars. The title track is broken into three vignettes (about “the last of the cowboys” and “living like Billy the Kid”) serves as an intro, a reprise and as a finale, steering the album narratively to a beginning, middle, and end.
With vocals reminiscent of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristoferson, and Hank Williams, Davis Raines could easily be a lost Highwayman and sings songs appropriate for that title. During “To See Where She Lives” he sounds particularly like Willie Nelson and the Walt Wilkins co-written “Just Like Hank” has the waltzing cadence of Hank Williams’ own “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Despite the many comparisons you can make, there are some songs that are decidedly wholly original. In particular, the tracks “Dixie Belle” and “McCullen on the Moors” are modern folk ballads. The track “Same Old Outlaw Blues” sounds anything but the same; the line “he’s just an old dinosaurus” is one of the best lines of the album. Tackling more serious subject matters, the song “Autauga County 1974 (Sweet Sixteen) is about domestic abuse and the “Hot Girls at the Mapco” with the line “just the way they always do/ leaving me alone and blue/ with another night to struggle through” is surprisingly poignant.
The track “Bustin’ Midnight” (co-written with Troy Jones) has a great, resonating bass line that seems to signify the narrator’s reluctant acknowledgement that instead of being faithful he is out all night again “bustin’ midnight wide open.” The songs “I Cried All Night” and “Doggone Long Gone You” (both co-written with Pamela Jackson) despite addressing a sad subject matter, bring a jangling almost-rockabilly sound to this mostly country album.
While his last two albums had more of a rock edge, mixed with inspiration from music of the 50s and 60s, this album is firmly set in the worlds of Americana and outlaw music, showcasing the artistic range of Davis Raines.