Unpopular Advent 2015 - Day 24: Legends of Country - 'Talk About Country'
Let me admit from the start that I have had a soft spot for the songs of Jof Owen ever since the first Boy Least Likely To single dropped into my lap way back in (glances at Interweb to check history) 2003. Can that be right? Twelve years? Surely not. It was one of the most delightful unsolicited pieces of mail I have ever received.
In those twelve years The Boy Least Likely To have delivered an array of perfectly formed quirky Pop masterpieces, each laden with songs of a uniquely British charm. They have been records filled with unapologetically upbeat renditions of suburban ennui. They have been records filled with deliriously downbeat flirtations with love and affection. I have loved each dearly.
Perhaps inevitably then Owen’s latest outfit borrows many of the motifs of The Boy Least Likely To and places them firmly within the context of an unashamedly passionate obsession with Country music. This is Country music made by people who both adore and observe the traditions yet refuse to create dull, lifeless facsimiles. Owen is too sharp for that and anyway cannot (and thankfully does not want to) escape from the influence of the Pop created and consumed in the Britain of his youth. So whilst the songs on ‘Talk About Country’ mine seams common in the genre (tales of hardship, separation, distance, movement, loves lost and hearts wronged) they do so whilst nodding knowingly to comfortingly familiar UK references and humming hooks that wouldn’t be out of place on a SAW production. As a result they have become my most played set of songs from the year: the songs I’m most likely to find myself singing along to in barely controlled glee and teary-eyed reminiscence. They are the songs I want to hold close to my heart and whisper that I’m glad I found someone who feels the same.
‘Talk About Country’ is Marty Robbins as a dumpy little Goth listening to Talulah Gosh; is The June Brides in love with June Carter; is Ray Davies in ‘Calamity Jane'. ’Talk About Country’ is Wham! Goes Honky Tonk and hang the consequences.
‘Talk About Country’ is, for what little it is worth, the most Unpopular album of 2015.
You can buy ‘Talk About Country’ from their Bandcamp page. They even have an excellent fanzine and the most glorious Christmas single in ‘From St. George To Snowflake’.