CD review: Truckstop Coffee, For Dear Life (with audio)

My first exposure to some of the songs from For Dear Life came during the Citrus Circuit Tour earlier this year and the first thing that struck me was how much the rock element overshadowed the twang their sound had been so focused on earlier. It was exciting and awesome. After the show I asked them about it and they blamed/credited their new bassist, Bob, for the change. That change in their live show has certainly carried over into the new CD as well. Even though they're starting to move away from the Lucero-esqe country sounds of their previous album and more towards the straightforward twang-tinged rock ‘n’ roll sound of, say, Two Cow Garage, they haven't abandoned their original style entirely. You can witness this best in songs like "16 Ounces" and "The Ballad of Joel Carpenter", but the album (band?) is at their best when they're dancing inside this new expanded country-blues-rock sound of theirs with tracks like "Ghost Or An Angel" and "I-3." And when the band fully embraces the new sound, as seen in "Costume" and "Laredo Skies," I feel vindicated for all of the support I've thrown at these guys over the years.

For Dear Life is a lot of things. It's the best album the band has made to date. It's probably gonna be the best Florida release of the year. It's easily a late-year entry onto the ninebullets essential listening list and will probably end up on my top 10 of the year list. It's also available for whatever you feel like paying for it. So, check out the songs below and then throw a few dollars at the band and get a copy of it for yourself.

[image-1] (and one shot of whiskey)

Truckstop Coffee - Ghost Or An Angel

Truckstop Coffee - Costume

Truckstop Coffee - Laredo Skies

Truckstop Coffee's Official Site, Truckstop Coffee on myspace, Buy For Dear Life

Some reviews are tough to write because you like the record but seriously dislike the people in the band; others are tough to write because you love the album but just can't think of anything to say about it beyond the simple fact that you love it. And then there are reviews such as this one...

Full disclosure: I like Truckstop Coffee as people. I sent the CD to other blogs in the hopes they'd get some more press and I've even helped hook them up with a booking agent. If those facts make reading this a problem for you, skip to the bottom, listen to the songs and to hell with my typing about it.

For the remaining folks, yes, I consider Pete, Caleb and Larry friends, but I also consider them a terrific band. I first heard of them play back in 2006 in the infancy of Ninebullets. At the time they were doing a pretty good Lucero-meets-Drive-By Trucker's impression in support of their debut, One Damn Thing To Redeem. Throughout the years, they've made it up to Tampa a couple or four times, but rarely have they strayed from the tracklisting of that first album. There were rumors of a new album one day, but, as any struggling musician knows, recording, mixing and mastering an album requires money and there ain't much of that coming in from playing little bars and backyard parties. Eventually, Pete self-recorded a solo acoustic album and I just assumed the eventual next release, For Dear Life, would just be full band arrangements of some of the songs from that release.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

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