After releasing a handful of self-released EPs, Shotgun Rider (comprising Logan Samford and Anthony Enriquez) are finally ready to show the world who they are on Palo Duro. Right away, the album captures their Texas in a way that’s fresh, exciting and unique.
Inspired by the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro sounds atmospheric and inviting, with well-crafted songs that are hook-driven and catchy. “It’s kind of lonely, but it’s also peaceful and it keeps you creative, because your head isn’t so cluttered,” Enriquez told Rolling Stone. “As a writer, I don’t feel any boundaries out here because we’re so far removed from everything.”
“Free of boundaries” is the perfect way to describe this album. The first song, “Me and A Memory,” just may be the best of the bunch, with a soaring chorus and a sense of urgency that rolls along quite nicely. “Texas Rain” excels with its darker, more interesting guitar riff, and “I’m Not Alright” has a quirky, rollicking melody that balances well against its heavy subject matter.
In fact, if you listen more closely, you’ll hear most – if not all – of these tracks operating on minor chords with moody, atmospheric production. This combination that recalls the best of Gary Allan, especially since Shotgun Rider lead singer Logan Samford shares vocal similarities with Allan. (In fact, one could argue that this feels like a long-awaited Allan album.)
What needs to be said, however, is that Palo Duro is its own unique entity. Shotgun Rider is a true duo, with Samford acting as the main vocalist and Enriquez acting as the main songwriter. It’s a dynamite combination that never disappoints.
Even a simpler track such as “Lovin’ Up On You” can be lauded as a highlight with its urgent tempo and catchy hook.
Other songs feel like true-blue country songs, blending the right amount of heartache and demons to create the perfect lyrical storm. “Lucky Him” recalls the same self-deprecating country goodness of a heartache that Ashley McBryde incorporated with “Tired Of Being Happy.” “Bottom Of This Crown” recalls the best of any country song about drinking to drown sorrows.
The two also offer up great life advice with “Time Don’t Turn,” a track that reminds us all to make the best of the present moment. The duo even try their hand at a ballad on the closing track, “The Night Don’t Love You,” which arguably shows the best vocal performance from Samford next to “Me and A Memory.” With this track, Shotgun Rider maintains consistency throughout this impressive debut album.
With Palo Duro, Shotgun Rider showcase their influences on an album that feels like the perfect summer project, providing atmospheric country-rock that’s easily enjoyed.
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