An intriguing mixture of southern rock and mainstream pop radio flourishes on Suzi Ragsdale’s Future Past makes for 41 minutes worth of good listening, with mere scant traces of filler.
The guitar work of Darrell Scott and Verlon Thompson is consistently solid while never verging on flashy technique over musical substance. The steel guitar playing nicely compliments Ragsdale’s voice, and on one track it subtly compliments a mandolin, harmonica, violin, and harmony vocal. This is also true for the drumming, which is hard-hitting, but not filled with ridiculous fills, and the bass playing, mostly courtesy of Larry Marrs, keeps rock-solid time. That’s good enough when you’ve got two guitar players as actively rhythmic as Scott and Thompson.
Future Past‘s lyrics are primarily suburban poetry, with a heavy emphasis on everyday household activities, such as on “Something Other Than Myself,” where Ragsdale sings, “I changed the baby’s diaper, changed the channel, closed the blinds.” This kind of stuff jumps up at other places on the album, including an entire song about a teacher, titled, strangely enough, “Teacher, Teacher.”
Throughout the album, Ragsdale concocts several very singable choruses. This bunch of songs helps the entire album feel positive and uplifting, even though a lot of the tunes are definitely downers lyrically.
I like this album a lot. It’s not flashy, but the whole thing just seems to drive with a force that is so purely honest. In this sense, it’s kinda like an early Springsteen album, where you know there’s a lot of hard work going into performance without a necessarily high demand placed on high-end production. It’s obvious the album was made with a lot of emotion, and the talent level that exists among the musicians makes it definitely worth a listen.
// Notes from the Road
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