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Music Review - `Tennessee Alabama Fireworks` by Boo Ray (lz)

Boo Ray -- Tennessee Alabama Fireworks    (click on image to watch video)

 21 February 2019



It’s always been obvious that Boo Ray takes his job seriously. His music reflects a certain grit and gravitas that begs to be taken seriously. His latest effort, Tennessee Alabama Fireworks, is no exception. Relayed from a distinctly blue-collar perspective, it was inspired by an iconic sign that beckons travellers to sample its wares, and has, over the years, became a beacon for those making their way up Tennessee’s Cumberland Pass, people described in his liner notes as “truckers, troubadours, Bonarroo folks, drug company sales reps, cavers and spelunkers, long distance lovers, people hell bent on Nashville Hot Chicken, Predators and Titans fans, Vandy peeps, and the bands touring in and out of Nashville.”

That’s a varied bunch to be sure, but the thing they all seem to hold in common is a wanderlust and willingness to commit themselves to that road. Consequently, it’s little wonder that Boo Ray draws on that drive and determination in each of these hard-edged narratives. Songs such as “Don’t Look Back,” “Honky Tonk Dream” and “A Tune You Can Whistle” are all steady and assured, tales sung from the perspective of those who rarely give a glimpse into the rearview mirror. The remorseful rocker “20 Questions” and the rugged resolve of “Gone Back Down To Georgia” purvey a no-nonsense perspective that’s never diminished or denied.

In many ways, Boo Ray maintains a stoic Southern tradition, one infused by the likes of Waylon and Willie, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and other epic outlaws that took a long, hard view of life and never ever faltered in their footsteps. The ethereal sweep of “She Wrote the Song” aside, he persists and perseveres, singing his songs for the masses and never sugarcoating their stories. Yet at the same time, his humanity is never in doubt, and he rarely feigns from sharing his own arched view of life... of its tragedies, of triumphs and travails. It’s the thing that makes Boo Ray so essential in these troubled times, an artist who opts to tell it like it really is, the consequences of that honesty be damned. Like the sign that inspires the album title, it can create a combustible combination, but one that continues to entice as a result.


 Lee Zimmerman


Lee Zimmerman

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