Casey Prestwood

REVIEW: Casey Prestwood “Where I’m Going Is Where I’ve Always Been”


Casey Prestwood – Where I’m Going Is Where I’ve Always Been

To know and appreciate the kind of music that Casey Prestwood makes, you have to know the right bars to go to, and the right nights to go. And, truth be told, it’ll probably help if you can dance a little bit. The Denver artist’s instrumentally lush take on Ameripolitan, in full swingin’ form on his latest album Where I’m Going Is Where I’ve Always Been, will no doubt move your feet, but be sure to pick up your ears as well, so you can fully take in some damn sad songs lightened by warm, lived-in musical arrangements.

Prestwood, a Virginian raised in the South, both plays the music and lives the life – appearing in divey Denver bars ensconced in rhinestone suits, he’s become the personification of countrypolitan, penning country songs with more instrumental sophistication than you’ll hear at your typical Lower Broadway tourist trap. The steel-loaded “Paralyzed Heart” kicks it all off just the way you’d expect – trying to dance the prettiest girl in the bar right off her feet: “People say I’m trashy/Extra low classy/Please don’t believe their lies.” “Crossed Signals” swings in with fiddle and bass and a plea for low drama – “You let me be me, I’ll let you be you/Honey, I’m not here to play games with you.” Translation – don’t let talkin’ ruin the lovin’.

Every song on Where I’m Going gives Prestwood’s players the chance to shine. “Maybe I’ll Be Happy” features an excellent fiddle/steel trade off between Hank Singer and Tyler Hall. A loping piano line from Floyd Domino sets up a forlorn scene at the top of “Traveler’s Motel” – “Popcorn ceilings/Fluorescent lights/Is where I’ll be/Away from you tonight.” And when fellow Ameripolitan Music Awards nominee Amber Digby isn’t providing sparkling harmonies, none other than Sierra Ferrell shows up (the pair know each other from sharing time in the Nashville honky-tonk band The Cowpokes). “Out of Place,” which begins with the sound of plucked fiddle strings, is one of the more up-tempo tracks on the record, a deceptively jaunty tune telling a serious story – “Well, I thought maybe I’d see you, babe/I never knew I’d see you like that/Stretched out in a bathtub/Your eyes are all rolled back.” It’s an overdose song, but danceable! (It’s OK – the real-life friend, according to the singer, survived). It’s Prestwood’s light vocal touch, and willingness to give his songs a chance to breathe and fill space, that makes this contradiction in tones work. You can listen closely and shed a tear in that beer, or you can simply choose to live in the music and dance the evening away.

Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Crazy Girls” glides along a great piano line from Domino while answering the track’s titular question – “Why do all the crazy girls love me?” – with a glance in the mirror – “I attract what’s deep inside of me.”

Where I’m Going Is Where I’ve Always Been was produced by Justin Trevino. Musicians on the album include Kevin Finn (drums), Jeff Martin (bass), David Knodle (lead guitar), Tyler Hall (steel guitar), Hank Singer (fiddle), Floyd Domino (piano), Amber Digby (backing vocals) and Sierra Ferrell (backing vocals).

To order Where I’m Going Is Where I’ve Always Been (out June 16):

Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Casey James Prestwood “Traveler’s Motel”

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