Cold River Records recording artist Drew Baldridge has found a way to blend genres, adding a big band sound to country on his debut album Dirt on Us. The record is packed with absolute jams, love songs and even a gospel hymnal. Baldridge told us earlier this year that fans should be prepared to “groove and to go to church.” He wasn’t kidding – it is almost impossible to not tap your foot, clap your hands, or close your eyes and feel the groovy beats throughout the album.
One thing that allows this album and Baldridge as an artist to stand out is his fondness of a horn section. Throughout the album are solos where the brass instruments take over, reminiscent of Earth Wind and Fire or Chicago in the 70’s. Creating a cross section of country and funk, Baldridge coins the term “funktry.” His debut single “Dance With Ya,” which has currently broken into the top 50 on the Billboard charts, is the first song with a brass section in current country music in quite some time. Another track that include a prominent horn section is the upbeat “Train.” The video below features the entire band dancing and jamming out on an old train. With smooth vocals he delivers catchy hooks that will get stuck in your head (in a good way).
The title track “Dirt On Us” along with “Tractors Don’t Roll” and “The Town The World Forgot” all pay homage to Baldridge’s small home town of Patoka, Illinois, with lyrics touching on the band of brothers that comes out of a close knit community or the calm a town feels on a lazy Sunday afternoon after attending church and eating momma’s cooking. Proud of his roots, Baldridge makes sure to give an inside look to his fans what it felt like to grow up living that small town life. Showcasing his fun side, “Burnt Toast” is a song that will make you laugh that conjures up images of a woman who is great at most things; however, cooking is not one of them.
Written with a core group of seven writers, including Grammy award winning writer Tim Nichols, the album is cohesive and strong. Baldridge tell us that these writers have been with him since day one, since he moved to Nashville and started working towards his goal of his debut album.
Dirt On Us features what some may consider love songs, focusing more on those early phases of the relationship like in “Drama,” “Love on Your Body,” and “Curious.” Smooth vocals and sensual lyrics on “Rebound” also provide an ideal backdrop for a confused state of an on again off again relationship. Co-writer and featured on the track, Emily Weisband’s voice plays the perfect counterpart for a fed-up Baldridge.
For a stunning close to the LP, Baldridge made sure to include a church hymnal. “It Is Well” was recorded by not only Baldridge but his father and uncle as well. He grew up singing with his father in church on Sundays so he knew when it finally came time to record his first album that he would love to add a song he sang all those years ago. “I will never forget the first time I heard the final cut of that, it just brought tears to my eyes, and that is super special to me,” he says in a recent interview with The Shotgun Seat.
Dirt On Us is a sonically strong offering from the up and coming country artist. Many of the songs will fit well on country radio because of they are relatable to the country fans across country. You can pre-order the album on iTunes today or purchase it on 6/10.