Rick Potter — These Days (photos by Jim Cundiff)
Across the state of Kentucky, and the region surrounding it, there is an unprecedented amount of musical talent and magnificent voices clamoring to be heard. Rick Potter is one of those voices. His debut release, These Days released on April 2,2022.
Recorded at Shelby Lore Studios in Ashland, Kentucky, These Days features Potter on acoustic guitar, mandolin, and lead vocals. Accompanying him on These Days are Shelby Lore (Shelby Lore Band) on electric and acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and harmony vocals; Wayne Neal (Mountain Oyster Cult) on pedal steel, lap steel, and dobro; JD Thomas (Dark Moon Hollow and Building Rockets) on upright bass; and and Shirley Seim on fiddle.
These Days for the most part is a rollicking honky-tonk adventure that would feel at home parked amongst the great outlaw records of the late 70s. However, once you start thinking that is all this album is, Potter takes a sharp turn into southern rock, americana or something entirely new while taking us on the journey of a guitar picking, traveling, good-timing man.
These Days opens up asking a “Heartbroken Angel, what are you doing here, there ain’t nothing but a lonesome, crying in that beer” ‘Heartbroken Angel’ is a classic honkytonk tune that sets the tone of the album.
While I would call the majority of These Days a honky tonk album, there are some songs like “Train Rolls On” that take the listener in a different direction musically. “Train Rolls On” is the first one of those on the album. Musically, this is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, lyrically, it is one of the deepest, darkest cuts. “Don’t come knocking at my door, I don’t need you in my life anymore. Took a piece of me I can never get back”. This song tells the tale of the struggles of the recovering addict.
Other highlights on the album include a couple of different twists on the love song including the title track, “These Days,” and “When She Renewed Her Vows.” “Honey, don’t you give up on me now, I’m seeing things a little bit differently these days”, Potter pines in the title track as he spins the story of a rambling guitar picker realizing what he has to lose.
I semi-jokingly referred to “When She Renewed Her Vows” as a love song. But “When She Renewed Her Vows” is more of a cheating song than a love song, but it is definitely a song with a twist. In this one, Potter is more of a narrator of the tale, telling his buddy that “It’s easy to forget, I know you haven’t heard it yet. But when she renewed her vows, she left out you”
The album closes out with “Appalachian Hell” another instrumentally beautiful track with dark lyrics. “Over two hundred years ago, the devil came creeping in, they say we sacrificed the soul for a hell that never ends. They ripped the heart out of the mountains and brought the lumber from our lands, left us with almost nothing and gave the money to the man”. “Appalachian Hell” is a harsh look at decades of abuse by coal and logging companies and the people of this region who “ain’t going to change who we are, our way of living is all we’ve known. We’ll fight for every inch of this land; these mountains are our home”.
These Days, from start to finish is full of great songs and well crafted lyrics that paint the picture of life in the bars, on the road, or life in a region the rest of the world tends to ignore. Most that read this review, are not going to be familiar with the name Rick Potter, but it is a name well worth getting to know. Released on April 2,2022, These Days is available on all platforms. You can also order direct from Potter via social media (https://www.facebook.com/WestwoodTroubadours).