John Slaughter is what you call the “real deal”. He doesn’t just sing country, he is country. He manages to take his real life and transpose it in to songs. No gimmicks, no tricks, just damn good country. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to talk to Slaughter, you’ll realize he’s about as genuine as they come. In saying that, we got our hands on his new album, “Meet in the Middle” about 24 hours ago, and we couldn’t be more impressed! While we were big fans of his previous album, you can definitely see the growth and maturity in this record that every sophomore album hopes to showcase.
The record starts with the previously #1 hit, “Ghost Town”, and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the record. The listener knows they’re in for strong traditional vocals, superior production, and well-versed writing…and that’s exactly what they get!
The 2nd track on the album is “She Ain’t Got a Tear” and our pick for the next single. If you’re looking for evidence of how polished of a songwriter Slaughter has become, here it is! Slaughter connects emotionally with the listener and paints a vivid story in their mind. The best songs are always the heartbreak ones, and here’s proof!
The current single, “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”, is the 3rd track and provides an upbeat change from the first two. We honestly believe this is the best single Slaughter has ever released and we expect to see it at the top of the charts in a few weeks! It has everything you want in a single to create a buzz before an album’s release: fun energy, a catchy chorus, and an entertaining concept.
The next track, “I Am”, has everything needed to please boots and sawdust: fiddle licks, a toe-tapping tempo, and lyrics that are perfect to sing as your spin around hardwood. I can’t lie, sometimes listening to Slaughter makes me a little sad. When I hear a track like this, it makes me utterly disappointed that this isn’t the direction mainstream country has chosen to go. “I Am” is pure, and simply put, how country should be. Take notes Nashville!
It’s not hard to tell that Slaughter’s influences are guys like Merle Haggard and George Jones when you hear songs like “I’ve Got Some Drinkin’ to Do”, “Memories for Burnin” (featuring Josh Ward), and “Fix Another Drink”. Slaughter does a great job encapsulating the traditional outlaw style, and adding his own modern spin to it. Songs like these are what makes him so appealing to both young and old.
The title track, “Meet in the Middle”, gives the listener a good depiction of what to you can expect from the rest of the album. A song that takes the past (John Conley, Keith Whitley) and modern Texas country and finds the middle ground – which is exactly how I would describe the album’s overall style.
The 2nd to last track is “Fool Like Me” and showcases the best vocals on the record! It’s another one that’s probably coming soon to a dance hall near you. When you go back and listen to albums from greats like Keith Whitley and George Straight, you can two-step or waltz to almost every song. Unfortunately that’s a dying trend in this industry… but not for John Slaughter!
The record ends with our *Pick* of the album: “You Kiss Like Whiskey”. When I went back to listen to the album a 2nd time, this is the track I immediately went to! Accompanied by Presley Lewis, this duet is powerful and what we describe with two words as….damn good. It’s rare to hear exceptional music, superior production, top-notch vocals, and skilled writing all come together on a track, but when it does, it sounds like this! If you’re debating on whether or not to buy the album, this should seal the deal. The contrast and harmony of the two voices, mixed with lyrics like “You kiss like whiskey, one shot and I’m tipsy, cinnamon honey …fire on my lips, strong enough to make me forget….you kiss like whiskey”, make this is a song you’ll play over and over again! (Fingers crossed this one eventually gets released as a single)
Overall, we’re very impressed with “Meet in the Middle”. It’s one that you can play from start to finish, without skipping a track! It’s now available on iTunes. Check it out; I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!
Listen to the current single “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” below!
The Red Brick Tavern
Walker Country Fairgrounds (CD Release Party)
Fort Worth, TX
Dallas TX (CD Release Party
Silver Saloon (CD Release Party)
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.