There’s something to be said about finding your sound, knowing your worth and not settling for anything less than what is authentically you. In an industry of conformity, it often seems that many artists have lost that authenticity. Rather than focus on those who have sacrificed that standard, we choose to highlight those who have embraced it. The first name that always comes to mind is Muscadine Bloodline. For group members Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton, authenticity and perseverance (mixed with their God-given talent of course) is at the core of their success. If you’ve followed these Alabama boys for any length of time, you already know this about them. So when we heard about the release of their latest project, Teenage Dixie, we knew we were going to get something well worth the wait.
The highly anticipated 16-song collection dropped a year after their sophomore album Dispatch to 16th Ave. with nearly twice as many songs this time around. While every song and record they deliver comes from a personal place, Teenage Dixie gives listeners a play by play on what it was like growing up in Mobile, Alabama through the eyes of Muncaster and Stanton. The two took particular care in letting the songs come naturally during the writing process and doing what they know. But you might ask, “what exactly do they know?” Here’s what they had to say.
“When you write what you know, it just flows. Our goal with the songwriting was to make a great record, not break records. It seems country music collectively had lost sight of that but it seems like the tides are turning. People want authentic songs instead of radio hits.”
Photo: Matt Turpin
We couldn’t agree more. Music is therapy and when you connect to an artist or a song or a particular lyric, you find a sense of healing in that connection. In order for the listener to feel it, the artist has to feel it too. Teenage Dixie embodies that concept. It’s an honest portrayal of their life through song and there is no denying just how much they believe in what they delivered. Whether you consider it an advantage or disadvantage, the group’s independent status has always been a driver in their vision. Sure, they’ve had offers from labels wanting to partner in their development, but Muncaster and Stanton have never been willing to sacrifice their brand or give up artistic control to conform to the masses. A bold move, some might say, when a contract or financial stability is at your fingertips. This is how you know they believe in what they have and give absolutely every ounce of themselves to deliver a project that is completely and undeniably them. At Raised Rowdy, we are absolutely here for it.
In case you couldn’t tell after reading all that, we are and always have been big fans of the Muscadine camp and now we have 16 more tracks to soak up. We love them collectively, but here a few standouts.
Pocketful of 90’s Country (Charlie Muncaster / Gary Stanton / Ryan Youmans / Zoltan Tobak)
The fellas play a little homage to the artists they grew up on – artists many of us grew up on – shouting out favorites like Tracey Lawrence and Travis Tritt. They don’t beat around the bush when they talk about country music, radio specifically, losing its classic sound and looking to find the good stuff on old CDs or vinyl instead. For me, the underlying theme is that really good, classic country music is still being made. You just have to look for it. Turn off the radio and do a little digging for yourself.
Made Her That Way (Charlie Muncaster / Jordan Fletcher)
We’ve all been in relationships that didn’t end well because they were one-sided. Many times the person doing the most harm isn’t willing to admit their fault and own their part. This track however shows us the brutal honesty of what it looks like when someone actually admits and knows the damage they’ve done to the other. No sugar-coating here. Production is minimal but the message is powerful; exactly how I take my music.
Me on You (Charlie Muncaster / Gary Stanton / Ryan Youmans)
Let’s be honest, what girl doesn’t want a man to be enamored by every little move she makes? I can’t say I’ve ever thought about being compared to jambalaya but after hearing this one a few times (ok, I’ve spun this way more than a few times) it actually doesn’t seem that far-fetched. The catchy, fast-paced, lyrically packed track might even leave ya a little tongue tied. And fellas, if you’re looking for some brownie points, turn this one on and spin your lady around in the kitchen when she’s least expecting it!
Devil Died in Dixie (Gary Stanton)
Twang. Storyline. Boot stomping. Charlie Daniels reference. How can you go wrong with that combination? They gave us a sequel to “Devil Went Down to Georgia” that we didn’t even know we needed. Stanton shares the story of how the devil tried his hand at another dance but this time with his grandfather, known as W.T. in the heart of Dixie up around Monroe County. Rumor has it he’s buried somewhere down there but we may never know.
What we have here is an album packed with real life experience, creative visuals, love stories, anguish and personal reflection – everything we hoped for from them and more. While the polarity between the songs and their themes is apparent, it truly showcases their range and artistic diversity. From a love song with lyrical resonance, to reliving a gas station robbery, to bringing back memories of Charlie Daniels, all while never losing sight of their vision and sound.
We are so ready to hear the new tracks live on the road for the “Me On You” tour kicking off on March 1st. Check out the tour dates at www.muscadinebloodline.com and let us know where we can expect to see y’all!
For news and upcoming music announcements, be sure to follow Muscadine Bloodline on all social media platforms.