Foot Stomping Sorrow

Foot Stomping Sorrow

Michael Hogan

There was a time when country music spoke with a Southern twang, steel guitars and fiddles sang out songs of heartache and pain. Today’s country music has become more like disco with a Southern accent, dance worthy songs about tequila and tractors. Now, I’ve got no problem with tequila, tractors, or dance worthy songs. I just miss the days when Johnny Cash and Hank Williams could bring a tear to your eye with simple heartfelt lyrics of loss and sorrow. Well, I think I have found my cure. With the release of Girls, Guns, and Glory’s new album Pretty Little Wrecking Ball country music has found its tear-stained roots again.

Front-man Ward Hayden, has crafted 13 songs that hearken back to the days of lost loves and lost jobs that once permeated the country scene. The Boston-based band is made up of Hayden, percussionist Brendan Murphy, lead guitarist Colin Toomey, drummer John Graham, and bassist Bruce “Bagley” Beagley. Though they hail from the Northeast, a place known for anything but country music, the music says otherwise. Hayden’s warbling voice soars over the acoustic rhythms of these soulful creations. Listening to Girls, Guns, and Glory, I feel more like I am sitting in a good old-fashioned Texas honky tonk than in front of a roaring fire in the midst of the New England winter.

Many of the songs on this album are perfect representations of the musical enigma the country genre has been searching for from the beginning and has rarely found foot stomping sorrow. Songs like “Brown Bottle Blues,” “Big Man,” “Love God and Murder,” “Oh My,” “Born Mad,” and the title track Floorow with an infectious rhythm that you can’t help put tap your toe to. At the same time there are tracks like “Just Can’t Win,” “Wait a Minute,” “Here’s To the Girls,” “Just for Gold,” and the heartbreaking “Tennessee Rose” that have a more mellow tone, a passive beat just as contagious as the more energetic songs, but still they chime with a certain quiet passion. On Pretty Little Wrecking Ball, we find the best of both worlds when it comes to country music; the resonating beat that makes you want to get your dancing boots on and the deeply truthful insights into the darker, more depressing, side of humanity.

Girls, Guns, and Glory spend a lot of time touring the Boston area, bringing their own brand of music to the denizens of the Northeast who are starved for live country music. These are shows for the people who don’t want to have to wait for Kenny Chesney to bring his friends to Gillette for the annual summer Countryfest. It ain’t Rascal Flatts but it’s pretty damn close. If you want to catch Girls, Guns, and Glory in person you can do so on April 28th at Matt Murphy’s Pub in Brookline.