Australia’s Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders released this month the 11-track Go By Myself, their latest album which blends country, rock, Americana, folk, and blues. Roberts (vocals, guitars), Alex Quinn (guitar, bass), Ed Glass (drums), and Billy Anderson (piano) have written songs about the daily struggle to survive, be it because of the breakdown of family to the hardships of a soul-breaking modern life.
While country does seem to define many—if not all—of the tracks on this album, it is well worth noting the little details that add to the experience, as well as the detours the band takes here and there. For example, there are a couple of things that hit listeners when “Beat Down and Broken” begins, the main one being how discretely dissonant the track is, which makes a statement in itself.
The mid-tempo, drum-driven track features a layer of heavy guitars that add a sense of weight to track, yet another nod to its theme. In contrast, there is a certain cheerful optimism in “Hard Times”, which makes one wonder how seriously we should take the warning that “hard times/are coming”.
Uptempo electric guitars drive the right kind of attitude that goes behind asking the question, “Who Do You Think You Are,” while the nasal vocals in the piano-driven ballad-like “Kayla” are hard to shrug off; the melody though is well composed. The horns in the mid-tempo, drum-driven “Driving” give it a strong blues flavour but “Seen It All Before” is a little hard to place. While there are definitely country vibes to it, there are also hints of keyboard-centered 1980s pop rock that makes it quite the smooth track.
Eerie, yet universal, Go By Myself is bound to make listeners question the way they live this supposed “modern” life. Tracks and videos are available on YouTube; more information about the band is available on their official website.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
First published on Blogcritics.