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HomeEF CountryRussell Dickerson - 'Russell Dickerson' album review

Russell Dickerson – ‘Russell Dickerson’ album review

Russell Dickerson first arrived on the country scene back in 2015 with ‘Yours’, which eventually became his first number one single. Since then he’s wowed fans on both sides of the Atlantic with his soulful, playful sound and energetic stage presence, performing at C2C twice and concluding his first UK headline tour last month. Now he’s back with his self-titled third album, the follow-up to 2020’s ‘Southern Symphony’.

The 15-track LP opens with ‘Blame It On Being Young’, which very much sets the template for the rest of the record. It’s a shimmering, sun-soaked tribute to one’s teenage years, which references everything from TPing crushes’ house to Friday night football games and cruising Walmart parking lots whilst blasting Tim McGraw. Even though those may not be experiences we’re familiar with here, Dickerson really evokes that nostalgic feeling and the song’s stripped-back arrangement puts the focus on his voice, particularly the gravelly edge he brings to it.

That nostalgic vibe runs throughout the whole project, whether that’s the spiky guitars and almost rapped in places ‘Big Wheels’, the acoustic-led ‘I Remember’ with its reference to Third Eye Blind shows and drinking a roommate’s alcohol, or the bouncy 90s country and swagger of ‘All The Same Friends’. There’s so many songs on this album where I can see a crowd swaying along or waving their phone lights in the air – ‘I Still Believe’ is the key example of this, featuring a positive message, expansive singalong chorus and killer guitar riffs. It very much feels like a record made for stadiums and I think it’s going to be a massive boost for Dickerson’s live shows (as discussed in my recent chat with him when he was touring in the UK).

One other thing which stood out to me was the mix of styles on the album. Dickerson draws on everything from slinky funk on the crooning ‘She Likes It’ to R’n’B touches on ‘She’s Why’, which also features distorted vocals and a chance for him to show off his falsetto! That variety really shows how he’s willing to embrace all sorts of different sounds and has created something unique to him, but laced with the storytelling thread that feels so intrinsic to country music. I also loved how much detail he packed into the lyrics on songs like ’18’ and the classic rock-tinged’Beers To The Summer’, with its references to a ’92 Chevy and coming home from Ole Miss.

However, for me some of the album’s strongest songs are the love songs, many of which are dedicated to Russell’s wife Kailey. The playful, tongue-in-cheek ‘Sorry’, with its quick delivery and 80s vibe, is an early standout, putting a clever spin on the title and with echoes of Dickerson’s smash hit ‘Blue Tacoma’ – I can already see this one being a huge single. Elsewhere, lead single ‘I Wonder’ features sharp plucked guitars, tempo changes, great storytelling and huge vocals on the chorus, whilst the smooth, sparkling ‘God Gave Me A Girl’ is full of warmth and affection and ‘Over And Over’ has a dreamy, soft quality to it as well as some beautifully glossy vocals.

After the simple, piano-led ‘Drink To That’, which allows Dickerson’s vocals to shine through and features some big notes and singalong ‘whoas’ that feel like a perfect show closer, the album concludes with ‘Just Like Your Mama’. The song sees Dickerson singing to his young son (who also makes a special guest appearance at the end in a really lovely touch) and hoping he’ll grow up to follow in his mum’s footsteps. I loved the delicate twang of the melody and the song’s heartwarming, hopeful message, and it felt like a surprisingly emotional way to finish things off.

Overall this is a record that should see Russell Dickerson rising to the next level of his career. It’s an album that feels incredibly personal, with a great narrative thread running through it, but yet also has a really strong connection with the audience and is going to sound absolutely fantastic live. I feel like he’s come on leaps and bounds from his last album, particularly as a songwriter, and has fused his influences into a distinctive sound that should keep old fans very happy as winning over plenty of new ones.

Track listing: 1. Blame It On Being Young 2. Sorry 3. She Likes It (featuring Jake Scott) 4. I Still Believe 5. Big Wheels 6. I Remember 7. I Wonder 8. God Gave Me A Girl 9. All The Same Friends 10. Beers To The Summer 11. She’s Why 12. 18 13. Over And Over 14. Drink To This 15. Just Like Your Mama Record label: Triple Tigers Release date: 4th November 2022

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Laura Cooney
Laura Cooneyhttp://cherrysodablog.blogspot.com
Laura is a music and lifestyle blogger with a particular interest in country music, and occasional writer for Entertainment Focus.

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