Now, after endearing themselves to fans with the hit radio single “Drinkin’ Problem” and a self-titled, Midland unveil their full-length debut, On the Rocks(Big Machine Records).A collection of 13 tracks all written or co-written by Midland –the guys took their name from a Dwight Yoakam song –On the Rock excels at setting a mood, transporting the listener to another place and time. It’s an album made for wide-open skies, endless deserts and wondering where the road is going to take you next. “Drinkin’ Problem,” written with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who produced the album with Dann Huff, reclaims the drinking song for classic country music, making it less about an endless party and more about self-medicating. “They call it a problem, I call it a solution / just sitting here with all my grand illusions,” sings Wystrach, evoking the best booze ballads of both Gary Stewart and Merle Haggard, two of the trio’s chief influences. “Make a Little,” a rollicking ditty, is more optimistic, soaring with the brotherly harmonies of Wystrach, Duddy and Carson and a timely message: “There’s just not enough love in the world.” The rapid-fire lyrics embody the clever wordplay that is unique to country music –”we should make a little, generate a little / maybe even make the world a better place a little” –and also nod to Alabama, another country band that helped spark a revolution in the genre.Midland hearken back to a time when an artist’s personal style –colorful suits, tailored denim and well-worn hats –dovetailed with the music. And they tip their hats to other groundbreaking artists throughout On the Rocks.The kickback and get-high ode”Altitude Adjustment” name-checks John Denver, the majestic “Nothin’ New Under the Neon” sounds like vintage Eddie Rabbit, and the glorious “At Least you cried” channels Dwight Yoakam. By album’s end, the band
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