While the vocals of Welsh retro country string band trio The Goat Roper Rodeo Band may be something of an acquired taste – sounding like they hail from the mid-West rather than North Wales. It does enhance their authenticity as ‘young guys with old souls.’
Featuring just two guitars and an upright bass, brothers Tom and Jim Davies and friend Sam Roberts (who largely provides the harmonies, but does showcase his sweeter tones on the soulful shuffle Rhythm of Love) play rockabilly, folk and two four country blues that owe a debt of influence to the likes of Hank Williams. Indeed, there’s a definite touch of Settin’ The Woods On Fire to grab-your-hat hayseed-swinger album opener I Got Room.
They keep the pace frisky (something that’s also built them a sizzling reputation as a live act) on Mean Man, Stick It On Red and Catch Me If You Can, slowing it down just a touch for the walking rhythm Blossom Blues, where they sound a little like falsetto Everly Brothers, and the strummed jog of Old Heart Ache (recently premiered on FRUK) with its pedal steel (courtesy of A Man Called Horse) and almost a yodel.
The album’s produced by Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers and he ensures a good flow between the uptempo material and the balladry. The first of these arrives with the weary and worn down Old Joanna (harmonies provided, I’m guessing since there’s no track credits for the additional musicians, by Michelle Stodart and Ren Harvieu), followed, four tracks later, by, first, the soft and soulful slow sway My Sweet Woman and then, drawing on shades of gospel blues, the slow building, empassioned, broke and at the bottom Don’t Believe In You.
Briefly picking the tempo back up for the bluesy, New Orleans-shaded Tomb Stone, the album pulls down the shutters with Tom’s five minute crooning piano and pedal steel closer Hey Chuck, by which time, I can pretty much guarantee that the taste will be well and truly acquired. If you’ve not come across them before, then give them a try.
Cosmic Country Blue is released 7 October 2016 via Aveline Records
Order it via Amazon
The Goat Roper Rodeo Band Tour Dates
October 7th – The Green Note – Camden
October 8th – Badlands Record Store (Afternoon) Smokey Joes (Evening) Cheltenham
October 20th – Bush Hall London (Supporting The Stray Birds)
October 22nd + 23rd – Cafe#9 Sheffield
November 3rd – Wrexham Folk Club
November 5th – Perthshire Amber Festival
November 13th – Alexanders – Chester