Lord knows that I am a sucker for sappy, heartfelt, acoustic, Americana. There is something about riding down a two-lane, winding, highway somewhere in bum-fuck Ohio that intersects small towns, villages, and lands with single stop lights for miles. Where there are still hardware stores not called Lowe’s or Home Depot, corner stores that sell bins of tootsie rolls and lollipops, and an actual church at the center of the main street. These towns are few and far between anymore, but there are still many that offer that longing of nostalgia that we all feel from time to time. People only get these small towns glorified in the movies, or, in the case of Junkyardfieldtrip’s self-titled debut, in an album full of songs that are played outside city hall, in the gazebo of town square, on a Saturday night. It’s good stuff, and should be championed.
And so what if it’s dramatic, we all know it’s true. We have been calling people and bands ‘the next Springsteen’ ever since Springsteen, and we still can’t find anything that comes close to the deep color blue on his collar. So bands try to emulate… and we can only compare, which is fine, and that’s what Junkyardfieldtrip is trying to do, and they are fine. They write really good songs, more safe, middle of the road style stuff, but good songs nonetheless.
Album opener “2AM” is a heart-wrenching, heart soaked, 70s singer-songwriter anthem, ready for radio. “Blind” continues with gentle guitar picking and a willowing violin arrangement. A song perfect for a night time campfire. “Dusty Radio” is almost Paul Westerberg-like with its guitar set to pop-song 101. “Mercy” showcases a southern rock, bluesy chord structure perfect for working on your car in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon.
For all the soul of the first four songs, there are some misfires including “Sometime Never”, and “Why Not Me?” that don’t feel like they belong on the record and ruin the overall aesthetic of the album. Aside from these songs, I like what I hear and hope Junkyardfieldtrip continues making good music.