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Music Review - `Ain’t That a Cheyne` by Junior Cheyne (lz)

Junior Cheyne -- Ain’t That a Cheyne   (click on image to watch video)

 28 June 2019



The pun implied by title aside, it’s evident that Junior Cheyne is determined to restore contemporary country music to the credence it deserves. They make that mantra clear on the album’s back cover. “Country music has been drying up...we’re racing to the rescue, wipers on and b.s. detectors set to steer us clear of the Nashville Music Police....we’re driving to save country music, one song at a time.”

That’s a mighty mission to be sure, and an auspicious intent to be sure. Fortunately, they prove true to their promise and Ain’t That a Cheyne offers an outstanding example of what that traditional template once sounded like in the days before frat boy rock and unabashed easy listening became the chief priorities for commercial consideration. The band, which consists of Lucky Fontana, Precious Blue, Billie Carton, and Ori Ordonez, deliver their music with a decisive determination and a rugged resolve that allows certain songs -- “Out of Gas,” “Girl from the Last Century,” “Unsettled Mind,” “The Most Dangerous Song in the World,” and the song that sizes up their hard-fisted philosophy, “You Won’t Like Country Music (If You’ve Never Cried)” -- bring to mind Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings with all their rowdy, restless resolve. Still, it’s not that this bunch imagine themselves outlaws or renegades; songs such as the tellingly-titled “Intimacy,” “Close Enough for Jazz” and “While Texas Sleeps (Austin’s Runnin’ Wild)” offers an easy, unobtrusive, decidedly accessible sound that isn’t confined to any specific genre.


The takeaway here is that while Country is a concern, the obvious initiative is to offer a sound that comes across without posturing or pretense. The music flows naturally, and regardless of tone or tempo, it’s imbued with an instinctive charm that allows for an immediate connection with the listener. The fact is, we need more bands like Junior Cheyne to restore the honesty and authenticity that the best music brings to bear. The fact that they set such a superb example makes Ain’t That a Cheyne nothing less than a most admirable effort.


 Lee Zimmerman


Lee Zimmerman

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