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Music Review - 'Same Shirt, Different Day' by Rodney Rice (dm)

Rodney Rice - Same Shirt, Different Day (Click to watch the video)

16 August  2020

 

Black

Rodney Rice explores familiar country territory in his new collection of songs, Same Shirt, Different Day. He sings of privation, unrequited love, and rural blues with the scenery of rivers in Texas and big skies over lush fields.

Rice is a clever lyricist, and he is at his best when depicting the everyday struggles of working people. “Ain’t Got a Dollar” – a swampy rocker, “Middle Managed Blues” – a whimsy country shuffle, and “Company Town” – a horn infused midtempo lament, measure the despair and frustration of low end employment, reminding listeners that there are curiously few songs about the activity that most people spend most of their time doing like it or not – working. Country has always most reliably and deftly broadcast-ed the despair and anger of blue collar grunts who, more often than not, “break their backs” for little pay and little respect.

The horns on “Company Town” add New Orleans emotive power to the song, but also demonstrate that the rest of the record would improve from similar creative touches. Many of the songs segue into one another, becoming nearly indecipherable. This is partially a result of Rice’s vocal delivery. Even when his sharp lyrics navigate diverse emotional and social topography, his inflections and phrasing remain the same.

Despite the shortcomings of Same Shirt, Different Day, Rice is able to strike a blow to the heart of listeners, showing a sensitivity for ordinary experience, and a subtle touch with his lyrical sense of the dramatic. It is real country music about real life – something in short supply on contemporary radio.

 

  

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

  

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