The Cowboys Ain't Gone Yet: Paul Bogart, "Leather"

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Paul Bogart, "Leather"

It's bee a truism for a while now that Country and Pop have blended together so much that there's not much of the old school Country left. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it's produced a lot of great music. But it's also come at the cost of the original sounds -- the steel guitars and the honky tonk piano -- that you maybe didn't realize you'd been missing until you hear it.

Fortunately, there are still country artists who still walk the walk, and draw inspiration from their music from the lived life.

A prime example: Paul Bogart, whose just released his latest single, George Jonesin', off his CD, LEATHER. If you've even a passing reference with the genre, you get the reference, and Bogart deftly encapsulates the zeitgeist of the Silver Fox with this story-song of lost love and drowned sorrow lyrically and melodically.

As with any album, things can be hit and miss. LEATHER gets off to a bit of a shaky start with Better With My Baby -- which relies on too many stereotypical country tropes like wraparound porches and pickup trucks, set to a rhythm that has some odd moments of asyncopation, followed by Pretty Please which is too cute for its own good and perpetuates the courtship dynamic of "boy begs girl for what he 'needs.'" 

But beyond that, when you get deeper into the album, you find music that gets deeper in its meaning and maturity. When the Cowboys Are Gone is one such song, tapping into the work ethic and indomitable spirit of the men and women who put in physical labor to get what they have, and who see the world slowly giving way to the bankers and captains of industry. This is followed up by the aforementioned George Jonesin', and then the titular Leather, used here as an allegory for the endurance of a long-lasting relationship.

By this point, you're hooked into hearing the rest of the album, which carries the listener even higher with the transcendant country ballad, Way Past Beautiful.

The album wraps up by grounding itself in the foundations of country music fandom's tenets of faith and family, with Grow and Albert Edward Brumley's congregational hymn This World is Not My Home, before passing the baton on to the next generation of country music lovers with Buckaroo Lullaby.

If you miss the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry, and your television can always be found tuned in to RFD TV, then Paul Bogart's LEATHER is the album you're looking for.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0