Think of the urgency and aggressiveness of Ragan’s punk/hardcore past and mix it with rock steady alt-country/folk music and a hard husky voice, and you will land somewhere near Chuck Ragan’s latest album. Ragan successfully added another chapter to his legacy with the release of his second studio LPGold Country.
Complete with harmonicas, slide guitar, fiddle, and banjo that all work together in harmony, but it is Gold Country’s genuine effort that comes off original. Opener “For Goodness Sake” is strum hard as though it should have been accompanied with loud distorted guitars and a mosh pit. Probably my favorite track on the album, it proves that even with a large collaboration, Ragan is perfectly complete when alone with his acoustic guitar.
Highlight tracks “The Trench” and “Cut Em Down” serve up loud gang vocals and help to paint the picture of Ragan on a small stage with a group of close friends. Everything about this record feels bare and raw as if recorded with a carefree attitude to eliminate the pressure of a sophomore slump. I get a sense that Ragan and his collaborators enjoyed themselves during the making of this record. Whatever the strategy was, this album separates itself from Ragan’s first solo studio album Feast or Famine. Gold Countrytruly is “what you see is what you get.”
One cannot deny the honesty and authenticity Ragan gave to Gold Country lyrically, as well. His ability to relate to the decent hardworking everyday listener is heartfelt and real. Not enough words can be said about Gold Country. It is an album well done, one that will draw new fans to Chuck Ragan and certainly keep the old fans extremely satisfied.