Allan & Ashcraft
There are a few essential elements in country music these days, and if you want to be successful as a country musician you have to be able to serve ’em up. You have to be able to sing about your country roots, and you have to be able to party. On their new EP, Hubie Ashcraft and Allan Miller have those bases covered with room to spare.
“Cornfields,” the EP’s lead track, takes care of the down-home portion of the program, with a landscape painting of Indiana’s particular kind of countryside, with those fields stretching as far as the eye can see and “power lines cuttin’ across the sunset.” It also touches on the pillars of family and ancestral tradition, although the revelation that grandpa is buried under an oak tree in the backyard is a little too close to a horror movie for comfort.
“Let’s Get Gone” has the fun covered. It’s a mid-tempo rocker that encourages the singer’s girl to put her “sugar pants” on in preparation for a road trip to the Gulf of Mexico. With winter just around the corner, I have to admit that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
The other two originals on the EP explore the ups and downs of love. “Way Down” is surprisingly melodic given how much it talks about graves and drowning, but “These Days” is an unabashedly cheerful declaration of love. Meanwhile a cover of Buckcherry’s “Sorry” makes it clear that Allan & Ashcraft know that today’s country fans are more likely to have grown up listening to Bon Jovi than to Merle Haggard. The song’s original modest growl has been traded for a modest twang, but there’s no steel guitar or fiddle anywhere to be found. Without a doubt, Allan & Ashcraft know what it takes to make today’s country music lover happy. (Evan Gillespie)
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