Music Review: Colt Ford – Ride Through the Country (Average Joe’s Ent.)

Are there any more maligned or misunderstood genres of music than hip and country? When asked what kind of music a person likes these two styles are at the top of the excluded list. Now imagine them joining forces in some unholy alliance of country-rap (or as one person I know coined it “crap.”) I can just imagine the exit becoming glutted with the fleeing hordes. Screw ’em….

I was cruising twitter and came upon several posts/tweets the name of Colt Ford. He’s become sort of surprise dark horse on the both the country and the hip-hop charts . I have a soft spot for both country underdogs so I checked him out.

Though not as left-of-center as Buck 65 or Ridley Bent , or as bat-shit crazy as “Insane” Shane Mckane, this 300 lb former PGA golfer comes across as a drinking buddy of Everlast and Bubba Sparxxx that might have passed a bottle with Jamey Johnson (who appears here on the cut Cold Beer) when he was working out the lyrics for Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk.

Like a typical hip-hop album Ride Through the Country offers cameos from other artists and you can judge the performer by the company he keeps.
The title cut is a slow country-rock ride back to Colt’s Georgia roots with smooth backing vocals and guitar furnished by John Michael Montgomery. The excellent Gene Watson trailer-park kiss-off cut No Trash in My Trailer gets a great reworking here and is made better by the great Mike Dekle on chorus.

As mentioned earlier, Jamey Johnson sings chorus on Cold Beer a rollicking party cut and Nashville singer Lindsey Hager provides a smooth counter to the Ford’s gruff lone-wolf with a soft heart lyrics on Never Thought. Saddle Up is a hell raising fiddle laced cut featuring the Alabama rapper Attitude. The bluesy, swaggering Good God O’mighty is tailor made for a good old fashioned hell raising drunk singalong.

The themes on Ride Through the Country are as cartoonish as a typical rap or country album – beer and rotgut, fighting, Southern cooking, pride in vehicle choices (4X4), pride in America, God and the bible, keeping it real – except the mean streets of Brooklyn or Philly are replaced by the dusty, feel good (where even fights are cordial) streets of Georgia. This is about as good as something like this can get and it beats the crap out of anything Kid Rock ever did.  Somebody give me a hell yeah!

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Roots of Country Music and Hip-Hop

I’ve often contended that the thematic similarities between country music and hip hop (as well as punk) – poverty, faith, community, rebellion, redemption, love, an insanely loyal fan-base – have always been there bubbling just under the superficial stylistic surface. Juli Thanki over at does  a great job of fleshing out this concept in her story Who Says Country Can’t Hip-Hop?

Though I’m less impressed with the use of Kid Rock, Cowboy Troy and the Big and Rich creation, the “Muzik Mafia” as well as her “Screwed-Up Genius Who Died Before His Time” theory to tie the two genres -represented here by Tupac Shakur and Hank Williams – to be dubious, and the oversight of excellent artists that represent an appealing mix of the two cultures in their work like Ridley Bent and Buck 65 – I do applaud the article’s direction overall and the focus on House of Pain’s Everlast, the Gourds cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and Snoop’s own work with Willie Nelson and his expressed respect for the Man in Black,  Johnny Cash.

With full knowledge of the level of loyalty of both genre’s fans, Thanki anticipates much hate mail from her article. If the email assailing does come to be it will just prove that no one hates quite as hotly as close brothers.

Buck 65 – Wicked and Weird


Ridley Bent – The Devil And Coltrane Henry