[25 August 2011]
Nothing quite embodied the country spirit more than the band of musical outlaws dubbed the “The Highwaymen”. Willie and the gang converged to create a dangerous vision of true country. This same spirit has returned to the genre through the beards and whiskey songs of artists like Jamey Johnson and the Zac Brown Band. A welcome breath of alcohol-laced air to an over-commercialized Nashville scene. Levi Lowery is firmly situated in that same tradition and brings solid songwriting credentials and a host of quality studio players to this stellar debut. I Confess I Was a Fool was produced by Zac Brown and presents itself as an authentic mix of influences, which pushes beyond classic country, but resists the modern pop sounds of artists like Keith Urban. Lowery’s bevy of country forms mix well, from the driving opening track “The Problem with Freedom”, to the mid-tempo contemplations of “Another Sunday Morning” and “Freight Hopper”. Another highlight is “All American”, which revels in classic country storytelling a la Charlie Daniels. I Confess I Was a Fool is sure to please fans of classic and modern alike. It will be interesting to see if Lowery can pull off such an eclectic mix on future releases. But for now, this is pop-country as it should be and Levi Lowrey is no sell-out. Quality songwriting about regret and redemption, from a man unfettered by, but still steeped in tradition.