The problem with country music today is it’s lost its authenticity. Alt-country become a parody of it’s self, and has been infiltrated by 20-year-old hipsters growing handlebar mustaches and trying their damnedest to look like an urban cowboy. It’s few and far between when you find a musician that transcends the parameters of country music and just makes some good old-fashioned American honky-tonk. Cyrus James is one such artist. One part Texas outlaw, one part tattooed rocker, a whole lot of attitude and that bona fide country authenticity, Cyrus James is making a mark on the music world that shouldn’t be ignored.
After sampling some music from his website, I quickly became a fan. With music that cuts to the core and brings me right into the booze soaked Texas honky-tonks that I spent a good bit of my youth in. Smiles a plenty, beer flowing, and you can hardly make it up to the bar to ask for another drink because the whole place is two stepping and dancing their blues away.
If you asked me where to start when it comes to Cyrus’ music I’d flat out tell you to buy both albums and don’t waste another minute. Cyrus is a hell of a guy that wouldn’t sing a single song if he didn’t live it first. “Molly and the devil” is a classic from first note until the very last strum of the guitar. “I’m drunk, I’m sorry” is an anthem reminiscent of some of the great party tunes like Hank Williams Junior’s “family tradition”, while “pass me by” is a dreamy, atmospheric reflection of familiar country themes, yet pushed outside of its regular parameters. The more I listen to the music, the more I see that country music is not a definition that is entirely fitting. The lines of rock ‘n roll, honky-tonk, and outlaw country become so blurred I don’t know what to call it other than Americana. If you have loved and lost, if you have drank your self off of your barstool and onto the floor, and if you have got up each day with a smile on your face willing to give it another go, then this album is your soundtrack.
Cyrus’ second album, is entitled “Dreamers of the Day” and there could never have been a more fitting title for an album. Despite the tattooed and tough exterior, the music on this album illustrates the romanticism trapped deep inside a hardscrabble life. Whiskey soaked tales, again visiting familiar country music territory all in creative way that illustrates what sets him apart from the regular country music genre and pulls you right into the life of Cyrus James.
The first track, “Bad man”, is a hard driving, foot tapping, tune that really sets the stage for what is to come. Introducing Cyrus himself, he makes it clear that he might be a bad man, but he has got a good soul. The rest of the album doesn’t let up one bit. Each song flowing seamlessly into the next, this is the soundtrack to driving back roads, breaking hearts, swilling whiskey and doing it all over again the next day. As the album comes to a close, it finishes up with “All Along”. This is more than a song, it’s a testament to love that digs deep and illustrates a heartfelt dedication with a swell of emotion, melody and feeling that only a person that has known a real true love can understand.
I’ve been listening to both of Cyrus James albums for a while now and have a hard time coming up with the words to do them justice. When I put on a song like “My crutch” and chills go up my spine I feel like there is nothing I can say that Cyrus hasn’t already said better himself. I can’t say enough good things about his music because despite him being an exceptional musician, singer, songwriter, he is a hell of a guy. It’s rare to find the words illustrated more clearly than the ones he sings, and he’s someone that has lived, bled, and sweat through each song that he’s penned. That might not be important to everyone, but it makes a big difference to me. Real can recognize real a hundred miles away and I can guarantee you Cyrus James is one of the greats and as real as they come.
If you like your rock ‘n roll flavored with a little bit of honky-tonk, or even if you don’t like your music that way, give it a listen and see if his words don’t resonate with you as well. You might find out you have a little bit of honky-tonk in you after all.
Grab his tunes right off of his site, and we hope to get an in depth article going soon enough about his music, because you all deserve to hear it. On itunes: Molly and the Devil and Dreamers of the Day.