CD REVIEW: THE FARGO RAILROAD CO. – This One’s For You
3 September, 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 ½ /10
In the ‘60s there was a revolution in Britain as bands across the country adopted and adapted U.S. rhythm & blues to their very different situations. As a result The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Animals and a hundred other bands changed the course of popular music.
It’s unlikely any musical movement in the 2010’s will have such a profound effect on the music industry, but there is a potent movement gathering momentum in the north of England – one that seems unlikely until you listen to the results.
No doubt fuelled by many tours by Jason & the Scorchers, Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, Drivin’ & Cryin’, and the like, a growing number of U.K. bands are delving deep into the alt-country/southern rock/ Americana well with surprisingly authentic results.
The Fargo Railroad Co. out of Sheffield have distilled the southern country vibe, tapping into an Allmans/Skynyrd/Creedence sound and this debut studio album (after a warts n’ all live offering recorded on only their ninth gig) is a stunning document that couples real life front porch stories and historical fictions – all, incredibly, from England’s rainy north!
Musically the foursome – Jody D, Andy D, Mike R & Smack – hit the sweet spot pretty much throughout, never over-playing, imbuing every note with emotion and passion.
This One’s For You is great from start to finish – in fact, it’s hard to isolate highlights… but here are a few: Drinking Game, delivered so laconically that you almost miss the hilarious lyrics of boozy caution. Shotgun Wedding should have been an acoustic Georgia Satellites hit. The Well – rendered so well on the aforementioned live album – is just as touching in the studio, telling the tale of brothers fighting on opposite sides of the American Civil War. Black Rain and Arizona Dust are so authentically American that it makes no sense they were written and played on the other side of the world. Whirlwind sounds like John Fogerty and Bob Dylan and Tom Petty collaborated on a song (come to think of it, it almost has a certain Travelling Wilburys vibe to it).
The music industry in 2016 is a strange beast. Technology gives bands the affordable chance to record without record labels being involved, but more often than not a ‘local band’ will only get heard amongst local people. Luckily it was only a couple of degrees of separation that brought Fargo onto 100% ROCK’s radar, as this is a contender for one of the best albums of the year. With luck, many more music fans will give This One’s For You a chance, as this is an album so good it deserves a large audience far and wide.
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