Paul Sammon has been listening to “Bar Stool Preacher”, the second full-length album from Georgia-born Jacob Bryant
Almost a year after the UK release of Practice What I Preach, I was hoping for more of the same. That was a great Country Rock album. However, as you’ll read below, that’s not the direction Bar Stool Preacher goes…
Initially I was torn. On a first listen you can either fall into the “There’s something for everyone” camp, or the “Who is this even aimed at?” camp. However (and that is a BIG however), after a few spins I think I’ve decided it’s for the Jacob Bryant fans. Those that know his past know the heartache he’s been through, and where his first album came from. (If you need a catch-up, take a look at our interview with Jacob Bryant.)
It’s clear from the opening bars of Well Whiskey (Discount Cigarettes) there is more country than rock in this tune. Still the same Chris Young-esque voice but singing what could be a George Strait / Alan Jackson collab. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad track with its formulaic tales of heartache and whiskey. It’s pretty cool actually. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.
The Bottom (Raise ‘em Up) is aimed at the blue-collar worker, working for the man but living for the weekend. Again, pretty standard stuff but the “Raise ‘em up” instruction in the track will no doubt go down well in the bars and live gigs as we nod our heads back and forth. Yeah, it’s got that tempo. You just can’t help yourself.
As the album progresses, you’ll find the slider move from country over to rock and then back again until it balances somewhere in the middle. I must confess my initial disappointment was overturned the more I listened. Is it weird I played it in the car and while cleaning and while chilling just so I could see if the tracks were better in different situations? (Answer – It’s a car album for me.)
Can’t Say No To You and Baptized By The River are similar in their slow tempo but one is about not resisting the girl that, y’know, makes you cave and always come running. The other is about redemption as the title might imply and probably deserves a bit more volume on the JBL’s.
I’ve always maintained a good tune is one that makes you feel something, whatever that “something” is. It’s always personal. Things That Hurt is possibly one of my faves from the album. Its sentiment of “the things that hurt take the hurt away” really strikes a chord and answers, to an extent, why we punish ourselves sometimes.
Somewhat reminiscent of Who’s Gonna Take Me Home, (I can’t shake the Chris Young sound from my head) we hear Ain’t Gonna Happen Today. Nice and chill and possibly best listened to while under the influence of something we really can’t recommend you should be under the influence of, if you get me? Very laid back. Maybe a trip to the fridge after?
The other stand-out picks for me would be Can’t Take An Angel to Hell, Good Ol’ Boy (love the dig at the Hipsters) and Wash It Down. Simply because, as well as being fun to listen to, they’re heavier on the production and that’s just my bag. The latter track is also my top slice from the whole project. It has all my favourite elements; big guitars, beer and a banjo. Get in…
They say you should forget your past if it’s a bad one. But, if you don’t reflect occasionally on where you were and what you’ve been through, you can’t truly appreciate how far you’ve come. Amen is a nod to Bryant’s past f’sure and the rockiest track, with a killer solo. Even on the studio production you can feel the passion behind the song. I would love the guys to come over here and finish a live set with this track. Wow, just, wow…
I feel this album is a grower. Not gonna lie, it didn’t blow me away like his first album, but, having run it through its paces I would urge you to buy it, play it a couple times to ease your way into it then get in the car, go for a long drive and crank it up loud.
Jacob Bryant’s “Bar Stool Preacher” is released on January 14th and available from all major streaming services. Also available to order on CD or vinyl.
Jacob Bryant – Bar Stool Preacher – Track Listing
1. Well Whiskey (Discount Cigarettes)
2. The Bottom (Raise Em Up)
3. Can’t Say No To You
4. Baptized By The River
5. Things That Hurt
6. Can’t Take An Angel To Hell
7. Good Ol’ Boy
8. Devil & An Old Six String
10. Ain’t Gonna Happen Today
12. Wash It Down