Usually, if you’re anything like me, you have to listen to an entire CD before beginning to get into the point, but there are times those times when you just can’t wait. Maybe you listen for a theme..or a streak of inspiration that helps you gauge the dimension of the project. Can’t do it this time, WELCOME BACK Jubal Lee Young!
Right out of the chute comes Texas Pirate Radio and I can feel the night air against my skin and the wind whipping my hair into unrecognizable shapes as I rocket down the highway in an old Cadillac complete with those tricked out fins and the top down burning through the gas like a Sherman tank on a faraway battlefield.
And that’s just for starters.
Jubal Lee Young scores huge with On A Dark Highway. Sometimes hard and driving, sometimes reflective, often flavored with humor this is always gut-level honest music from a man whose musical heritage was forged in his genes and tempered by the endless road.
Dad Steve Young and mom Terrye Newkirk long ago laid the foundations and Jubal almost has no choice in the matter, the music is as much a part of him as breathing.
In the tradition of Roseanne Cash’s reverence for her father comes Jubal’s version of Steve’s White Trash Song and Terrye’s My Oklahoma. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both parents and I’m not sure there are any two songs that capture them like these two songs do.
Ghosts of the Buffalo conjures up visions of the dusty boots and faded black hats of outlaw riders who probably felt the pain of the disappearing frontier as sharply as the native tribes did.
There’s no doubt in any Texans’ mind that Texas girls are ohhh sooo somethin special and bragging on em just comes natural in Texas Girls while Under A Rock In Arkansas makes ya wanna sling a guitar over your shoulder and chew on the words right along with Young.
The final track is also the title cut. Imagine you’re on the road reflecting on life, love and all things possible. Sometimes, maybe that reality isn’t all you hoped it might be.. “When you're on a dark highway/Static on the radio/Losing on your mind/And a woman from long ago/Things that might have been/People that walked away/With only the stars left shining/On a dark highway”.
Says Jubal, “I think that the title song is the essence of the album. It’s a bit of a travel log of the last few years. The underlying motif is the states I frequent and the people and places I have encountered. When the lights are out and the crowds have gone home; when the tour is over it’s just you riding down the highway, alone with your thoughts, being human.” Well said, to which he adds, “I played 99% of the guitar on this record and I think it made a big difference. I finally captured myself on an album”.
Personnel on this record include Amanda Preslar. Originally from Mississippi she came to Oklahoma as a teen where she majored in music composition and now owns Preslar Music in Tulsa, OK. Having appeared on various projects in the past, this is the first time she has stepped into the limelight as a part of a duo. Her soulful voice lifts majestically above Jubal’s grit..with the pair able to almost create a third voice in the mix.
If you’re already a Jubal fan, I don’t need to tell you that this, like his previous projects is a step down the road. I also don’t need to tell you that each record is better than the previous…and so it is with On A Dark Highway. Check him out at www.juballeeyoung.com.