J D Carroll and The Usual Suspects – Dreamers Choice (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

wp2600fa1b_05_06Whilst the core sound driving this beguiling release from JD Carroll is unmistakably country, it is country music delivered through a hazy, slightly psychedelic, folk infused lens,  which seems totally in keeping with the subject matter it deals with. If the aforementioned rootsy genre informs the structure and the shape of the song, it is what is hung on that framework which makes this more than just another country band. It is the sound of underground Nashville hanging around on the street corner of Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s, it is the sound of traditional music clashing with the sound of revolution, albeit a gentle and peaceable one, it is the sound of the past looking for a future and the present remembering its past.

Musically Dreamers Choice is subtle beast, moving at a gentle and fairly understated pace even then playing a modest and restrained hand. Country music can be about pickup trucks, hard times and all the usual cliches, nothing wrong with that, there is a market and a place for everything but JD Carroll and The Usual Suspects reminds us that country music, like all music born of the mass, can be used in far cleverer ways. Dreamers Choice is country music coming from a fairly existential place indeed. It grafts interesting observation and social commentary on to a track which whilst following the rules does so in a smarter, more intriguing and emotive fashion, which is a pretty neat trick if you can pull it off. JD more than pulls it off here.

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