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Midland - On The Rocks

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On The Rocks

Midland

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About halfway through their eponymous 2017 debut, Midland sing that their music isn't "Check Cashin' Country," a contention that might not quite square with the trio signing to Big Machine, one of the biggest labels in Nashville in the 2010s. Nevertheless, there's a grain of truth in that sentiment, as the group's debut On the Rocks is proudly out of step with the sounds of commercial country in 2017, containing nary a trace of electronics or hip-hop. Unlike other country throwbacks, Midland don't revive hardfloor honky tonk. They're bringing back the mellow, easy sounds of '80s country, sounding like a cross between Alabama, George Strait, and middle-aged Merle Haggard. On the Rocks also has a heavy dose of Dwight Yoakam -- he can be heard on the sly mariachi underpinnings of "At Least You Cried," and on the lean boogie of "This Old Heart" -- and that's the key to the group's success. Midland picked up on how Yoakam's magpie tendencies were strengthened by strong songcraft, and that lesson is evident throughout On the Rocks. With the assistance of producer Shane McAnally, the three members construct sturdy songs with a shimmering surface to match. Occasionally, the group seem to be winking at the past -- "Electric Rodeo" is a de facto tribute to "Rhinestone Cowboy"-era Glen Campbell -- but On the Rocks is anything but ironic. It's a warm, rich, and detailed love letter to a smooth style of country music that's fallen out of fashion.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

More info

On The Rocks

Midland

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1
Radio Intro Commentary
00:06:17

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

2
Lonely For You Only Commentary
00:02:01

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

3
Lonely For You Only
00:03:50

Rhett Akins, ComposerLyricist - Josh Osborne, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

4
Make A Little Commentary
00:01:56

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

5
Make A Little
00:03:01

Josh Osborne, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

6
Drinkin’ Problem Commentary
00:02:29

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

7
Drinkin' Problem
00:03:41

Dan Huff, Producer - Josh Osborne, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

8
At Least You Cried Commentary
00:02:05

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

9
At Least You Cried
00:02:39

Jonathan Singleton, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

10
Burn Out Commentary
00:01:04

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

11
Burn Out
00:03:09

Dan Huff, Producer - Josh Osborne, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

12
Out Of Sight Commentary
00:02:54

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

13
Out Of Sight
00:04:23

Luke Laird, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

14
More Than A Fever Commentary
00:04:28

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

15
More Than A Fever
00:03:43

Josh Osborne, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

16
Check Cashin’ Country Commentary
00:02:41

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

17
Check Cashin' Country
00:03:49

Dan Huff, Producer - Josh Osborne, Producer - Shane McAnally, Producer - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

18
Nothin’ New Under The Neon Commentary
00:01:10

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

19
Nothin' New Under The Neon
00:03:46

Josh Osborne, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

20
This Old Heart Commentary
00:02:20

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

21
This Old Heart
00:03:14

David Lee Murphy, ComposerLyricist - Dan Huff, Producer - Jonathan Singleton, ComposerLyricist - Josh Osborne, Producer - Shane McAnally, Producer - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

22
Altitude Adjustment Commentary
00:04:27

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

23
Altitude Adjustment
00:03:27

Rodney Clawson, ComposerLyricist - Rhett Akins, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

24
Electric Rodeo Commentary
00:01:09

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

25
Electric Rodeo
00:03:20

Dan Huff, Producer - Josh Osborne, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Shane McAnally, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

26
Somewhere On The Wind Commentary
00:04:47

Midland, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Becca Walls, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2018 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

27
Somewhere On The Wind
00:03:20

Rhett Akins, ComposerLyricist - Josh Osborne, ComposerLyricist - Cameron Duddy, ComposerLyricist - Midland, MainArtist - Jess Carson, ComposerLyricist - Mark Wystrach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2017 Big Machine Label Group, LLC

Album Description

About halfway through their eponymous 2017 debut, Midland sing that their music isn't "Check Cashin' Country," a contention that might not quite square with the trio signing to Big Machine, one of the biggest labels in Nashville in the 2010s. Nevertheless, there's a grain of truth in that sentiment, as the group's debut On the Rocks is proudly out of step with the sounds of commercial country in 2017, containing nary a trace of electronics or hip-hop. Unlike other country throwbacks, Midland don't revive hardfloor honky tonk. They're bringing back the mellow, easy sounds of '80s country, sounding like a cross between Alabama, George Strait, and middle-aged Merle Haggard. On the Rocks also has a heavy dose of Dwight Yoakam -- he can be heard on the sly mariachi underpinnings of "At Least You Cried," and on the lean boogie of "This Old Heart" -- and that's the key to the group's success. Midland picked up on how Yoakam's magpie tendencies were strengthened by strong songcraft, and that lesson is evident throughout On the Rocks. With the assistance of producer Shane McAnally, the three members construct sturdy songs with a shimmering surface to match. Occasionally, the group seem to be winking at the past -- "Electric Rodeo" is a de facto tribute to "Rhinestone Cowboy"-era Glen Campbell -- but On the Rocks is anything but ironic. It's a warm, rich, and detailed love letter to a smooth style of country music that's fallen out of fashion.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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