They say that there are two guarantees in life: Death and Taxes. I’d like to add a third….a terrific Allan Caswell album. The third guarantee is a great guarantee, not like the other two at all! But like death and taxes, it is inevitable. Not only are you guaranteed a good one, but they come out regularly. Thank God for that.
As I have mentioned before, if you pick up most country albums in Australia you will find either a Mike Carr song or an Allan Caswell song on it….or both. Soon we will probably be saying that about Drew McAlister and Lachlan Bryan, it is starting to happen already. Early country music in Australia was often written by overseas artists, or not by the people who have sung them. Over the last 15 years or so, things have been changing, thanks to people like Allan and Mike and a couple of others who have captained a new ship of young songwriters.
Allan is chiefly a wordsmith. He is a poet. You can take away the melody from an Allan Caswell song and still have a beautiful work of art. He is sometimes funny, sometimes strikes a nerve, sometimes deadly serious and often gives you food for thought. He is a storyteller, as most good songwriters are but not always with ‘once upon a times’ and ‘happily ever afters’. Often with Allan’s songs, there is a twist.
My Version of the Truth: An uptempo, kick starter and the title track. Some cool guitar licks and a catchy tune. We all like to illucidate and hallucinate, and exaggerate…sometimes it helps get us through stuff.
Just Another Song About A Girl: All songwriters write them. Songs about a girl, songs about a boy. It kind of fits into the must do songs in a songwriter’s resume. Not all songwriters, however, write them like Allan Caswell, though he has said from time to time that he does not write many love songs.
It’s not over til it’s over: I was lucky enough to get a preview of this song a couple of years ago when I went to a gig of Allan’s in the Barossa Valley. He said that Sandra Humphries was recording it. She did a wonderful job of it on her latest album, but Allan’s version is just as good.
Rhinestone in the Rough: You could listen to this song a few times and get a different message out of it each time, or you could just take it at face value. There are a lot of these bar singers around, hoping to make it to the big time, knowing that they never will, because they don’t fit the bill….a dig at “Idol” and a few other digs…..I have listened to it a few times now and I am getting different things out of it.
Lousy Coffee (featuring Lachlan Bryan): Two of Australia’s best get together on this one, ironically. Both Allan and Lachlan have had songs recently about Coffee. Coffee, the new beer. Catchy and one for a sing along….especially in the car.
Drinking Irish: It wouldn’t be an Allan Caswell album without at least one drinking song. It is not your standard drinking song, though…..and prepare for a jig at the end. Get your heels up and have some crack…..that is Irish for fun, though the song is more sentimental than fun.
Thank God for the 1% (with Seleen McAlister): Seleen is the reigning Indie Female Artist in Australia and a terrific songwriter in her own right. A song about the odds of finding someone at a certain place at a certain time. Amongst the best duets of the year.
Russian Joe: Not having the physical album, it is hard to tell all the facts, but I suggest that this is a true story. Allan very rarely writes a song that isn’t a true story.
You taught me all I know: A song that sounds almost 50’s/60’s, something that you would play on the Jukebox late at night in an old roadside tavern or Diner. A hurtin’, cheatin’ cryin’ song.
Some Kind of Cowboy: Some great lines in this song, all of them probably true of the bulk of rodeo cowboys. Reminds me of the movie “8 Seconds”, but it doesn’t have a sad ending….the road goes on forever and the party never ends….
Shelly’s Song: Allan told the story behind this song at one of his gigs. It is a true story, told the Caswell way.
Fred Astaire: Another love song, Allan! Good grief, for someone who “doesn’t write love songs, much” you are churning a few out here. Lovely song.
Until the Hurtin’ starts: Country is as country does. An old fashioned country song, with the right amount of torch and twang and a broken heart.
One Last Muster: An oldtimer’s story about his outback life and times and a world that is fading. It is a good way to end the album.
Allan Caswell is a magician with words. There isn’t much that he can’t do with them. To say how long Allan has been around for would be rude and not a sentence befitting a country girl like myself. However, the point is, that even though he has been around for a long, long, long time….he always tells us a new story and he tells it in a way that nobody else can tell us. Bravo, Allan.