The Lonesome Dirge, the second full-length release from Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward has everything a country album needs: a distinct southern twang, heartache and sorrow, brawls and scuffles, and gratuitous use of the word “ain’t.”
Starting off with the driving beat of “Firefight” that sounds oddly reminiscent of an army marching band, The Lonesome Dirge makes its Southern presence known with lyrics about moonshine and whiskey, rattlesnakes and headstrong young men looking for a fight.
Borrowing one from The Boss, Parker’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” takes the classic rock song a little further south while still lending a refreshing of that rock spirit to this 11-song country collection.
“I’m Never Getting Married” is a humorous look at the supposed advantages of marriage and is Parker’s vow of eternal bachelorhood. Complete with an accordion and some bar sing-a-long backup vocals that could easily take you back to a time when you’ve had one too many with the boys at your favorite bar, it has the promise of becoming an anthem for satisfied bachelors all over the South.
Closing with the touchingly melodic “11 Hours,” Parker uses the acoustic guitar and violins to his advantage, leaving his listeners with a beautiful and haunting ballad that showcases his softer side as well as his voice.
The Lonesome Dirge is an impressive effort by Parker that’s a lot country and little bit rock and roll, but is sure to appeal to a wide variety of music lovers.