Porterdavis have, apparently, been around for quite some time, but I’ve never heard of them before they sent me their self-titled (but not debut) album—ten songs of rootsy country music, honest and earnest.
The record is never boring or bad, and has some wonderful, shining moments, such as the songs “Strange Way to Grieve” and “Sunshine.” Lyrically, it’s up and down. There’s moments of beauty: “Heaven help me when I think I’m not enough/Heaven help me when I think I am,” is the refrain on “Strange Way to Grieve,” and “I’m not saying you’re the prettiest face I’ve seen” is the ironic opening line to, “That Way,” which builds to a chorus that goes: “I want to say, I love you that way.” And we all know what he means. This song, and other parts of the record, remind me quite a bit of Lyle Lovett. Unfortunately, the record is not lyrically consistent (“Grass Growing Through Concrete” is so cliché as to be trite), but even when the album stumbles in this area, it more than makes up for it musically. These are three coordinated, talented musicians who know how to play as one unit. And Dan Barrett’s vocals are perfect for his style of slide guitarwork.
I want to make sure that I write specifically about the song “Sunshine.” It’s got a snakey beat, strong verses, and a great blues riff that shows how great the roots-and-blues genre can be when it’s in the hands of true masters. If this is the single, it’s one of the best of the year.