The fourth album from these rootsy Oklahoma rockers is an enticing marriage of classic character-driven storytelling and dramatically powerful musicianship
The Oklahoma roots-rock sextet return with the follow-up to 2015’s The Turnpike Troubadours and it’s a record that has the potential to build upon the critical and commercial success of its predecessor. With a release date that coincides with Thanksgiving, it’s entirely fitting that these songs are packed with the kind of stories families will be telling each other around the dinner table, brought to theatrical life by the group’s energetic and proficient musicianship.
At the heart of the record is the songwriting and storytelling ability of frontman Evan Felker. Having returned to Okemah, the city of his birth, he has clearly been inspired to pack A Long Way From Your Heart with characters and themes that are close to home. From opening track The Housefire, a tale of devastation and loss, right through to the final notes of Sunday Morning Paper, inspired by his uncle, there’s a lived-in familiarity to the songs.
Rather than leave Felker and his compositions to their own devices, the rest of the group elevate the tracks out of the potentially barren surroundings you might expect to find them in. Whether with slick licks (Something To Hold On To), rousing hoedowns (The Winding Stair Mountain Blues) or country swagger (The Hard Way), the band bring more than a dash of drama to proceedings. It’s this combination that makes Turnpike Troubadours such an interesting proposition and has helped them create another triumph.
Verdict: The hot streak continues