Bucky Hayes and the Commonwealth – 100 Miles to Macon
Despite being a New York performer at present, Bucky Hayes’ Southern country roots are positively overflowing out of his sound.
‘I’ll Leave The Light On’ is a prime example, with a gritty vocal that seems to tell so many stories in between every line that is sung. Even though there’s the typical melancholy that comes with most country influenced tunes, Bucky Hayes and the Commonwealth manage to infuse their sound with an element of joy and upbeat fun. ‘Sweet June’ has all the classic elements; nostalgia, hopefulness, a hit of sadness, all wrapped up in a tight arrangement delivered by the band with a self assured confidence. The guitars growl and wail in a satisfying fashion, much like they did on R.E.M’s Monster. There is a softer side to be found as well, with tracks such as ‘Go Brother Go’ which leans more in the direction of Ryan Adams, with Hayes’ voice working perfectly alongside the gentle piano to create a heartwarming ballad. The album’s title track is similarly swoonsome, with a swirling organ that gives way to some all out Americana. In terms of arrangement, the track is a delight – where it might not be all that innovative, it draws on so many classic country tropes that it comes over like the cosiest warm blanket. ‘Fly On’ is an even more delicate example of the kind of more careful tracks that are nestled amongst the more bristling and in your face tunes that are are also found on the record. As a result, 100 Miles To Macon works as a kind of dark side/light side of country rock, and the contrast makes for a noteworthy recording.