Review: Clint Osmus And The Bushmills "Clint Osmus And The Bushmills"

Stillwater, Oklahoma is a flag-waving, Apple-pie eating, all-American town that now has a new claim to fame with the debut project of native son Clint Osmus. The self-titled album "Clint Osmus And The Bushmills" is a little bit rock 'n roll and a whole lot of country, which is the way the hard-working men and women of Stillwater like it. By the way, Clint Osmus And The Bushmills have crafted a darn good country rock project that the rest of the world will enjoy, too.
The ten tracks of "Clint Osmus And The Bushmills" show that the members of the band have truly harnessed their artistry and know their identity as musicians. The music impresses without trying to impress. Indeed, the album' s back cover photo features Clint with an full beard and mustache, glasses and arms folded over a well-worn western with a serious stare. His two bandmates, Darcy McKee and Jeremy Clark, are in similar attire. These country boys know who they are as individuals and musicians - take it or leave it. By the way, we'll take it.

Produced by Red Dirt stars Mike McClure and Jerry Payne (from the band No Justice), the album "Clint Osmus And The Bushmills" starts out strong with "There You Are," which has a winning Eli Young Band meets Lynyrd Skynyrd style. Clint Osmus penned all of the songs on the album except the final cut, "Sam Stone," which was written by John Prine. Clint Osmus And The Bushmill's crafted a sparse, sincere cover of "Sam Stone" that is both reverential to Prine and ground breaking at the same time. The song is careful to never over-reach and still manages to connect on all levels. This is also true of two other tunes: the melodic "Stranger" and the second cut, "Sweet Alicia," which is an intriguing love song with potent lyrics.

Clint Osmus And The Bushmills kick up the rock quotient with the terrific tracks "Passing You By," "See You Around" and "When She Runs Back Into Me." Likewise, "Never Met You" is a near-perfect traditional country track mixed with elements of new country and Red Dirt. However, the Texas country cut "Stay With Me" has a good chance of topping the Texas Music Chart with its hummable tune and straightforward lyrics. But the award for best song on the album goes to the powerful track "Someday" which showcases the band's bold vocal and instrumental passion. This crowd-pleaser is unmatched on the album.

As a debut project, "Clint Osmus And The Bushmills" is a revelation of southern rock style and old fashioned country charm. The success of the album is due in large measure to the skill of the band members who carefully portray who they are as country music artists. They are laid-back, good ole boys who value small-town ideals and expertly performed music that appeals to like-minded men and women. In a world where country pop has gone mainstream, Clint Osmus And The Bushmills have clearly rejected bubble-gum country and fashioned their own unique sound. Yes, the aforementioned back cover photo of the band is true to the music contained on the album: It's real. And, if you ask the boys of Clint Osmus And The Bushmills, that's probably the greatest compliment of all.