Totally Biased Fan Review: Horseshoe Rodeo Hotel – Aly Cook



There’s only one problem with this album……it is too short! In a review, recently, Graham Reid wrote: “Take the word “country” out of the equation if it troubles you and just immerse yourself in Cook’s considerable gifts.”  Heck no. I am overjoyed that it is. Having said that, I reckon that I could play it and one of my friends who insist that they don’t like country will walk into my place and say, “That’s cool music.” It is definitely country and it is definitely good.

Home: One of the first singles to be released and it is a good choice for a single. The title says it all, but it is pretty much a song about having to be away from home a lot and how home is always the best place to be. A catchy song, with an easy rhythm.

Midnight Cowboys: A bluesy song with a bit of twang. (The song gives us the words that form the title of the album). Almost a haunted reverie.

Western Line: I know this train track very well. I was born in Penrith, at the foot of the Blue Mountains and I can relate a lot to this song. Very country, very cool and everybody knows that I am a sucker for a train song.

Love is a Fool Time Job: I love the play on words, and of course she is right. This song could fit into a few different shoes, that is, it is as much a rock song as it is a bluesy song as it has some country subtleties.

Message in a Cloud: This is one of my favourites on the album, so much so, that it was my shower song this morning and the neighbours didn’t complain. I keep going around the house singing “Using your im-aggg-in-aaaation.” Love it. If it ain’t country, what is?

Kimberley: Aly splits her time between her homeland, New Zealand, on jaunts to Europe and in Australia. Western Line and this song, pay homage to her Aussie adventures. I love the didge. The song paints a beautiful picture of the “peaceful but wild” Kimberley region.

No phone, no mail, no internet: This single did very well for Aly on the charts. I have a funny feeling that Australian Country Music Godfather, Allan Caswell, had something to do with this. Some of the wordsmithing in this song definitely has the Caswell touch. Modern technology and the busy day to day stuff sometimes gets in the way of what is important. Terrific song, and very appropriate for the times.

Unknown Memories: I have the feeling that there is a story behind this song, it is about a bit more than regrets and yesterdays. Moving ballad.

Sassenay: I read somewhere that this is about a  New Zealand soldier. Then I found the youtube clip all about the fascinating and moving story that Aly was involved in. I urge you to watch the clip. It is excellent.  The song is beautiful. The Kiwi touches are awesome and the sentiment of the locals of Sassenay.

Aly’s voice is all her own, though there are shades of Chrissie Hynde, Chrissie Amphlett and Anne Kirkpatrick there too. Mix them all up and add Aly’s extra touch and you get a voice that is instantly recognisable amongst other singers.

Well done to the band and the production team. It is a beautifully crafted album. Great stories and great music.


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