BB Palmer Band
Lee Countys Finest, the new album from Alabamas BB Palmer, expands on the themes explored in 2016s debut EP, Belle Fontaine, named after the area on the west coast of Mobile bay, where singer/song writer Bernard Breitung grew up. Breitung, who goes by BB Palmer, writes songs that tackle big topics, subjects that main stream country artists tend to shy away from, such as mortality, addiction and environmental catastrophe. You could call it cosmic country, but Im not sure that goes far enough. Rather pretentiously, I have chosen to describe it as existential honky tonk.
The music is comprised of classic honky tonk elements, with twanged, strummed and plucked guitars, weeping steel and a sweet fiddle scratch behind Palmers distinctive, idiosyncratic voice. Lee Countys Finest is somewhat of a trip, a listening experience from start to finish, with samples and ambiances linking the tracks in a continual sonic flow. When I first contacted BB, asking to hear the new album, he was most definite that this was how the album should be considered, as a cohesive whole, rather than as a collection of individual songs.
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On repeated listens, the songs unfurl as the lyrics sink into your consciousness, suggesting questions as much as revealing answers. The depths of these songs seem to plunge further away as you become more familiar with them, until you are staring into the abyss of pain and struggle that is the human condition, wrestling with the facts of reincarnation, resurrection and Armageddon. As I said, this is existential honky tonk. I decided the best way to get a handle on where Palmer was coming from with this album was to ask the man himself.
Listening to this album, I get the feeling that there is a narrator delivering these songs, that there may be a theme to the album. What are your thoughts about the album? How do you want it to be understood? Or is it just a collection of tunes?
Right. From the narrators perspective, there is a story line, The band set out to do this record to flow like one entire piece, broken into eleven sections. There are many themes (lyrically and sonically). Without getting too deep, the three broad themes are; The battle or balance between Good and Evil, Struggle versus Triumph, and Conscious Mortality versus Eternal Life, all classic themes that have been done many times before throughout history, but done in a way thats interpreted through the scope of life and culture in Alabama, the south in general, and in a broader sense, the US and the world. Theres no particular way we would like it to be understood, we leave that up to the listener.
Dyson House Listening Room (View)
7575 Jefferson Hwy.
Baton Roiuge, LA 70809
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