ALBUM REVIEW: The Piedmont Boys "All On Red"

South Carolina's hilly Piedmont region is full of salt-of-the-earth people - you know the humble and unprententious citizens that make America great. So it's no wonder that a few hard working rabble rousers decide to shake things up in Greenville, SC. Enter The Piedmont Boys and the band's new release "All On Red."
To get a sense of the unpredictable nature of the band, you have to know where the title "All On Red" came from. Founding band member Greg Payne, a Kernersville, North Carolina native, told Country Chart Magazine that the name originated following a show in Grande Ronde, Oregon: "After our show, they paid us $1600 for two nights of playing," Payne said. "I took all the money...and put it on red at the roulette table. We were so broke anyway, I figure I'd take a chance...I WON."

The Piedmont Boys aren't just winners at the casino. The album "All On Red" delivers ten diverse and interesting songs beginning with "Bettin' On Bein' Alright." The track has a wide variety of musical influences with the major ones being traditional country and honky tonk. "Bettin'On Bein' Alright" puts a bright focus on America's tough economic times: "Ain't got a dime to my name and it's a crying shame, but I'm betting on being all right."

The next cut, "Free Spirit," has a cool, retro-country vibe that works, and the track that follows, "35," has much of the same charm - including superb instrumentation. However, the album charts new territory with the tender "Gypsy Soul," which is quiet and restrained in all the right ways. Indeed, the Chris Knight-esque song is remarkable for its simplicity.

"Hell Danielle" is the biggest surprise on the album "All On Red." The track's quirky chorus and laid back vocal performance make this cut supremely entertaining. However, The Piedmont Boys get back to normal form on the honky-tonk track "White Line Mercy," which will have audiences dancing, tapping and humming.

The Americana-influenced song "Blood Brothers" oozes passionate intensity and might be the album's best cut. Radio program managers should take notice of "Blood Brothers," which showcases a darker side of the band.

Everybody loves a fishing trip, and The Piedmont Boys are no exception. The cut "Fishing Trip (2011)" is a toe-tapping success. However, it is the final two live cuts that showcase the supreme talent of The Piedmont Boys. The first, "Bocephus" is a musical tour de force, and the other track, "Rice Beans"also showcases the band's gritty life experience. It describes living a life where food costs are kept low (rice and beans) to offset the cost of cocaine and cheap whiskey. "Rice Beans" will not be everyone's cup of tea (...or Jack and Coke), but it is real life that is portrayed as harmless fun by The Piedmont Boys.

"All On Red" is a surprisingly entertaining album that will keep you guessing from start to finish. The musicality is strong, and the topics being discussed are not always politically correct. That's why the band and its new album "All On Red" are a breath of fresh air in the increasingly paint-by-numbers country music scene. With all the cookie-cutter, black and white music on today's charts, The Piedmont Boys are unashamedly adding a little red to the mix.

Click below to download "All on Red" from The Piedmont Boys