If it’s a weekend and you’re about to give this sweet Johnny Cash meets Americana album a listen, the first track you should tune in to is “Tequila Cerveza,” followed by “Captain of the Ship.” Face a Monday straight on with mostly instrumental, energy-filled-stick-it-to-the-man-stick-it-to-the-system “Time to Set Things Straight,” and “I Put My Boots On.” Brent Amaker and the Rodeo’s Year of The Dragon contains a track anyone can jam to, dance to, sing to, all perfectly packaged in a robust, edgy array of old western style melodies.
Think of Year of the Dragon as not just what a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack would sound like, but what that soundtrack would sound like times five – with a few bursts of psychedelic wave, fun call and response vocals, and lead vocals reminiscent of Johnny Cash himself. There’s nothing that could actually be compared to the unique style of Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, and this continues to apply to their new album.
Tracks such as “I Put my Boots On,” give good, realistic quips, backed by fast-paced and edgy old-time Western melodies and harmonies like:
“If wisdom comes with age, why you gotta keep makin’ these mistakes,
You’re never gunna grow if you walk the same road every day…”
Lyrically, other great tracks include “Suitcase,” and “Death is Always Near,” with a continued infusion of wise words and Americana instrumentation. Step up into a more upbeat pace and raw tell-it-like-it-is composition with “Captain of the Ship.” “Tequila Cerveza,” is an absolute favorite, starting off and continuing with a chill, smooth melody topped by that deep Cash voice and a fun to sing-along to beck and call chorus. It’s a modest track that is fantastic in its effortless presentation. It transitions into a more psychedelic sound towards the end; a captivating tune, without a doubt, start to finish.
The same can be said with Year of the Dragon itself; Brent Amaker and the Rodeo do not fail to surprise. This album is a back porch listening, road tripping, and or jamming-at- your-work-desk-with-your-headphones-on-itching-for- the-weekend-adventures (as I am)-type album , essential.
Reviewed by Monica Y. Solis