Todd Barrow – Texas Country Nation – Review

Todd BarrowA born and raised Texan with a love for country music and the simple life, Todd Barrow writes and performs his music with heartfelt sincerity. Barrow is a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing everything from piano to guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and drums. Barrow’s new album, Texas Country Nation, released earlier this year, embodies the life of a southern bachelor in the open country.

Todd Barrow – Texas Country Nation

The first song on the album, “In The Dirt,” bull rides into country-rock groove as Barrow sings storytelling lyrics with a hard-vowelled southern drawl and crisp tenor clarity. A mischievous song with an energetic arrangement, Barrow immediately gets the listener riled up thinking about getting muddy and having fun outside in the dirt. A violin solo strikes after the second chorus, echoed by a fuzzed out guitar solo and a catchy instrumental hook.

“Give Me A Chance Tonight” is one of the more languid songs on the album, with lyrics more regretful and yearning. It’s the quintessential song of a dog with his tail between his legs — sincere, sorry, with an aching heart in the lyrics and delivery. As waves of electric guitar and piano chords accent the background in between verses, Barrow emits soft and sweet vibes asking a woman to give him another chance.

“Guadalupe River” begins with an upbeat guitar rhythm that sets the mood for a sunny, water-sprayed beach. Using country-style narration to describe a party scene in the summertime, Barrow sings lyrics about floating down a lazy river in the hot sun with an ice cold drink and close friends to enjoy it all with. There’s a ripping electric guitar line toward the end that elevates the song to make you feel like you’ve actually just arrived at the river!

“Barcode” is metaphorically about covering each other’s backs when things go wrong at a bar. For example: stealing beers but not telling others you saw it; watching out for drunk drivers and having your own keys taken away from you — that’s people’s secret bar code to keep everybody out of trouble. The bombastic energy in the music matches the devilish scenarios in the lyrics, but ultimately this song is spreading the basic golden rules about common courtesy. It’s a friendly reminder to all bar-goers to help one another as they would hope to be treated the same; it’s a message of unity, kindness, dignity, safety, and respect.

The mandolin shines out in “Bad Tattoo,” beginning with a strummy upbeat melody that kicks into gear with forward-driving drums and electric guitar. A story about his parents getting divorced, Barrow uses a bad tattoo as a metaphor for the moments, decisions, and spoken words we regret that follow us for the rest of our lives. While the sentiment is depressing, the mandolin offers a brightly toned, uplifting energy to the song.

“The House That Love Built” is a comfortingly soft touch to end the album. Offering companionship to anyone who needs an open arm, this song paints a positive picture of Southern hospitality and humble charity for others. The lyrics are about a home away from home that welcomes Barrow in any time he needs, complete with a loving pet that roams the grounds. Just as you always have a home and place to go at this house, this song is a soft shoulder to lean on and an embrace to comfort your mind, soul, and spirit.

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