Preview Nashville Magic by Maynard & The Musties.
Nashville Magic by Maynard & The Musties
If you’re in the mood for a good time, Maynard and the Musties newest recording, Nashville Magic, delivers the perfect soundtrack with a collection of twangy roots music that is tailor-made for fun. Joe Maynard, the leader of the band and the songwriter, sounds relaxed and ready for a party whether he’s singing the blues, a love song or a roots rock burner.
Nashville Magic is the fifth release by Maynard and the loose collection of friends and fellow musicians that make up The Musties. Although the original group formed in New York City, Maynard has moved back to Nashville, where he spent most of his childhood, and the current line-up draws most of its members from Music City.
The sound is pure Nashville, or more specifically, the sound of East Nashville, a hotbed of indie roots rockers, modern-day country music outlaws and struggling singer-songwriters. It’s country music that is connected to roots rock and the blues, yet has its own easy-going charm that is entirely its own. The laid-back vibe begins with Maynard’s voice, which never rises above a well-worn drawl. The music, which features dobro, electric guitar, keyboards and harmonica, shuffles along in a loose-limbed style that sounds tailor-made for a dimly lit honky tonk bar glowing with neon PBR signs.
Maynard conjures night life atmosphere with “The Next Sleazy Motel,” an affectionate sketch of the type of place where there’s plenty of drinking, dancing and fighting, and you might black out and forget some of the fun from the night before. (That's what he says in the lyric!) It’s a country-flavored blues tune that celebrates the dive-bar lifestyle as an alternative to pining for a lost love.
Oh those chains of good behavior at the Hilton or the Sheraton
Won’t keep this boy from holding on to the next indulgent sin
When this body slips away and death knocks at my door
It’ll open to this loser with a drunken’ little whore
“I Feel Love” struts along with a New Orleans shuffle, tinkling piano rolls combining with dobro and electric guitar. The effect of all those instruments passing the lead back and forth is more than a little reminiscent of a Dixieland band.
Another standout track is “Sell By Date,” a roadhouse country blues that offers a wry observation on the inevitability of aging.
It takes five years to learn guitar; another ten you might get pretty far.
Another 15 and you’re all washed up and the cycle starts again with another young pup.
The album has its sweeter moments, too. “The Sound of Jesus Humming” shows off Maynard’s writing skills with a folk-rock tune that recalls fond memories of a foreign sojourn with an old flame. He paints the scene through the recollection of small details, such as the songs they listened to on a shared Walkman radio. “I Wanna Do Everything With You” lopes along as Maynard sings in tribute to a lasting relationship.
The recording ends with the rocking “Bonus Track for Friends and Family,” another amiable blues tune with a backbeat that would make The Rolling Stones proud. It’s the kind of song that will have you reaching for the repeat button, which is a great way of describing the whole album.