Leave it to Micah Peterson and his band, Second Son, to make me care about country music again. I was raised on horse and cattle ranches, force fed George Straight, Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw while pounding t-posts into the earth. Once I left the ranch and headed to college I discovered hip-hop and never looked back.
Much of modern country music is overly focused on a specific demographic – the big truck driving demographic. Old-school country like Hank Jr. felt more like storytelling. Nu Country seems whinier and filled with more first world problems than universal truths.
Thus, when I say Second Son's new record, "The Heat of Devils," rocked me back on my heels a bit, this comes from someone who has deeply ignored country for many years. Where so many country artists' drawl seems like an affectation, Micah Peterson's vocals feel naturally crisp and clear, as if he is effortlessly able to sit in the pocket where so many modern country singers fail. His twang sounds authentic and lived-in, as if the miles of hard road he sings about were come by honestly.
"This record was two years in the making," Peterson says. "It's a very personal work for me. It's a heartbreak record through and through."
Tracks like "Don't Mean a Thing" and "Sunsets" recall the best of Uncle Tupelo and early Wilco, while "There's a Road" has a Dylan-esque quality that is quite hard to ignore. These standout songs with Wilderness' Jared Nelson Smith engineering, arranging and producing, and Peterson's honest and heartfelt songwriting and outstanding vocals, make "The Heat of Devils" an album that's true country.
"The Heat of Devils"
by Second Son
Released: 2016 - Bend
Available on iTunes