June 25, 2018 Ray Davies – Our Country: Americana Act II (Album Review)
A true pioneer of Rock-n-Roll, Ray Davies of The Kinks is proud to announce his much anticipated new album, Our Country: Americana Act II, will be released on Friday, June 29, 2018, via Sony Legacy Records. The second installment in his homage to America, Our Country: Americana Act 2 follows up Davies’ critically-acclaimed 2017 release, Americana, with 19 new tracks, including new renditions of past classics, celebrating the American life through the eyes of a legendary songwriter.
A storied career, Davies was born in London and found his love for music while attending college in 1962. Two years later, by 1964, alongside his brother Dave Davies, Ray Davies was already the Lead Songwriter, Rhythm Guitarist, and Vocalist for London-based quartet The Kinks. Hailed as one of the most prominent acts of, not only the 1960s, but in Rock-n-Roll history, The Kinks founded a loud, brazen sound regarded as the infant stage of Hard Rock and Punk Rock. Fans ate up this new energy and later on labeled The Kinks as “The Original Punks.”
Hit-makers, The Kinks flourished to gift some of the most notable music in Rock with renowned songs like “Lola,” “All Day and All of the Night,” and “Where Have All the Good Times Gone.” A massive hit, “You Really Got Me” became one of the biggest songs in Rock and became even bigger after it was covered by Van Halen in 1978. Topping the U.S. Billboard charts, The Kinks go down in history with 5 Top Ten singles and inductees in the 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Well-deserved, Ray Davies was honored in 2014 with an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received numerous accolades over a career spanning more than half a century.
After bestowing his 2013 memoir Americana, Davies worked to put his life experiences in America to musical form. Now in 2018, Davies continues his story via Our Country: Americana Act II. In describing the backstory of his new album, Davies explained: “Our Country follows my journey across America; through endless tours not just to reclaim The Kinks’ career, but to rediscover the country that offered me my earliest inspirations.” Produced by Davies and co-produced by Guy Massey and John Jackson, Our Country: Americana Act II was recorded at London’s Kong Studios and sees Davies working once again with Alternative Country Rock outfit The Jayhawks, serving as his backing band.
A mellow adventure, Our Country: Americana Act II features elements of Folk Rock, Country Rock, and, at times, a touch of the Blues. Opening chapter two of this unique songbook, “Our Country” embodies immense patriotism before the pop culture trip of “The Invaders.” Reliving the American time-line, “Back In The Day” sings of the 1950’s era of music, while “Oklahoma U.S.A.” salutes the Sooner State. Next, the growing pains of “Bringing Up Baby” shed an amusing light on parenting, “The Getaway” offers visions of leaving town, and “The Take” tells of groupies from the Mid-West.
Moving along, “We Will Get There” says things will be okay before the mellow search for “The Real World.” A coffee shop Blues number, “A Street Called Hope” yearns for fulfillment while “The Empty Room” recalls the golden age of music. Some southern reminiscing, Davies pours over the beautiful and the lost on “Louisiana Sky,” our mundane society via “March Of The Zombies,” and the stranger side of New Orleans on “The Big Weird.” Closing out Our Country: Americana Act II, “Muswell Kills” is a honky tonk jam showing Davies’ Country Western side.
Listening to Our Country: Americana Act II, it is interesting to see America through Davies who was not born in the United States. In his collection of stories, Davies showcases how the diversity of the good old U.S.A. has played a heavy role in his life, whether it be personally or musically. One book and two albums in, Davies is not finished yet, as the multi-talented artist is also developing a theatrical interpretation of both 2017’s Americana and Our Country: Americana Act II; which fans will be very intrigued to see. Over all, CrypticRock gives Our Country: Americana Act II, 4 out of 5 stars.