Home New music in our mailbox! Album review: Jay Gavin – Road Ready

Album review: Jay Gavin – Road Ready

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Gordy the moose reviews some of his favourite new submissions to the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.

Road Ready – due for release May 3 – is only Jay Gavin’s sophomore full-length solo album but nobody should conclude from that that Jay is some kind of novice.

Count him among the ranks of retired punk rockers and metalheads who now find themselves drawn to the raw authenticity of southern musical styles like blues, old-time, and, in Jay’s case, outlaw country.

And goddam can he write a song.

Road Ready is filled with catchy numbers about ramblin’ and hurtin’ — with melodic passages that evoke classics such as “Lucille,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Mommas Don’t Let You’re Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “Country Roads.”

In fact, it’s hard to pick a stand-out because it’s one of those rare albums in this era of singles and EPs that truly works as a package, the whole seemingly even greater than the sum of its parts.

The evolution from 2019’s Hard Times Comin’, is really in the execution rather than the writing, which has been strong from the moment Jay left the gate.

His ragged voice is sounding more full-bodied and broken in on this album, and he imbues it with a lot of character on tracks like “Government Tobacco.”

And where Hard Times was dominated by fairly pared-down guitar and mandolin arrangements, Road Ready benefits from production by Grammy-nominee Denny Knight (Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty) and musical accompaniment from heavy hitters like fiddler Deannie Richardson of Vince Gill’s band, whose heartrending playing and immaculate taste absolutely elevate the album.

It’s awfully hard to get attention as an emerging artist these days but if there’s any justice in the world, Road Ready will be Jay Gavin’s Guitar Town.

Mark May 3 on your calendar, and have a listen to these singles in the meantime.

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