This year marks the tenth anniversary of the forming of Drag the River. Hobo's Demos was the first release for the band, and coincidentally it was my introduction to them. I can say with certainty that after ten years, Drag the River is still making quality music.
The album begins with "leavin' in the morning," an excellent snapshot of the band. It is a short rootsy song that will have you singing along even the first time you hear it. That's something this band does extraordinarily well. Their songs, even if you haven't heard them before, seem so familiar and are so catchy, you'll find yourself wanting to sing along. "Mr. Crews" and my favorite "Amazing G." are also excellent examples of this aspect of the band. The lyrics of "Amazing G." are tremendous. Check this out. "She once believed in Jesus
but she never believed in love
now she worships at the altar
Drag the River has a sound that would make Buck Owens proud, with plenty of twang, pedal steel and harmony vocals. If that honky tonk in the sky exists, he's probably there looking down with pride at Drag the River.
"Beautiful and Damned" reminds me quite a bit of Grandaddy. It has the same sort of ethereal twang that Grandaddy has mastered, coupled with lyrics that really get you thinking.
This album contains a pretty ingenious idea. Track 13 "(It's Crazy") is a reprise of all twelve songs on the album. It's ingenious because they've made this album with the concept that if you just let the album play, you'll hear it twice. It's a good thing too. You'll probably want to hear it again because thirty-three minutes hardly seems like enough for an album this good.