[8 December 2011]
All-Western Winners is homegrown country straight from the Canadian prairies, from a classic country voice struggling to find the new in the old. This record is at its best when it strays from traditional country roots into the dangerous crunch of tracks like “Highways” and “Snake Farm”. Matt Masters’ traditional baritone voice is authentic and charming. His voice and acute vocal phrasings salvage half of the tunes from weak lyrics and songwriting. Most of the traditional country fare is well-meaning but lacks maturity. However, there are some bright spots for sure, especially when Masters lets loose on his distorted Telecaster to get down and dirty. While his attempt to combine his alt-country influences with the traditional don’t often succeed on All-Western Winners, I hope that his career does. He is rooted and rodeo ready.