Cover Art Courtesy of Big Machine Records
THIS SIDE OF PARADISE (March 4, 2022) — Having released an EP last summer en route, Midland’s Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach and Jess Carson are on the verge of arriving at their ultimate destination with THE LAST RESORT: GREETINGS FROM on May 6 via Big Machine Records. The trio spent the pandemic exploring their creative depths, from progressive Country that grew out of “Urban Cowboy” through Dwight Yoakam’s post-traditionalism, and arrive with their third studio album.
As Midland’s “Sunrise Tells The Story” rises at Country radio, the two-time GRAMMY® nominees dial in their Laurel Canyon-cum-Bakersfield sound for a tension that also promises release. Falling harder than the singer imagined throughout the spicy hook-up song, melting harmonies lean into a more erotically charged proposition.
“It’s a buckle-polishing song,” bassist/vocalist Duddy says, cutting to the chase. “Some songs dance all around it, but the truth is really told when the sun comes up. We’ve never shied away from getting into the high grass when it comes to the way sex and romantic adventure are a big piece of what Country music was, and we think should be. But sometimes, the hunter gets captured by the game.”
That erogenous charge fires THE LAST RESORT: GREETINGS FROM throughout, as well as the idea of escape being a verb more than a noun. For the footloose trio who’s logged several hundred thousand miles – selling out the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and resurrecting North Hollywood’s legendary Palomino Club along the way – it’s a soundtrack for people seceding from the grind, wanting more out of doing less, and believing in the heroics that made the original Outlaws strong compasses for almost a half century.
“It’s about more than the roots,” lead singer/guitarist Wystrach offers. “Because that makes you think of something that’s buried, which this music shouldn’t be. It’s about creating Country music that’s pure in a different kind of way, that draws on some of what’s been left behind but shouldn’t be. Some of these songs are pure Gary Stewart, others are the earliest Eagles stuff when they really were Country.”
As Carlo Rotella wrote in The Washington Post magazine after three days on the road, “At a casual glance, Midland seems like yet another bunch of guys’ guys celebrating a life of boozing and womanizing, but there’s a post-bro thread running through everything they do. Put-upon women oppressed by male jerks get their day in court in Midland’s songs, and a self-disarming gentleness takes the edge off their calculated cock-of-the-walk manner.”
“There are a lot of honky-tonk truths,” guitarist/vocalist Carson explains. “Some of them are the way a guitar or steel twines around the melody, almost a counterpoint or counter-narrative. To us, the playing is as important as the vocals or the lyrics. It’s not just a big wad of sound, but how the tracks build to extract the song’s essence. It’s a different thing, but it lets us not just have a sound, but make the songs more than just the hook… We’re trying to have people lean in, listen to the rest of what’s going on, too.”
The hooks, though, are undeniable. Worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle strength earworms, Midland understands how to pull you into their somewhat narcotic kind of Country. Hailed by The New York Times for “their retro-country elegance,” they have the smoothest edge of anyone in Country. It’s strong stuff that goes down easy, the sort of music to put on as you drive into the sunset or sunrise.
“We wanted ‘The Last Resort’ to be a track released before the album arrives,” Duddy explains, “because it’s kind of a manifesto for everything else. You know sometimes the last resort doesn’t mean you’ve run out of options, but more that you’ve decided you’re going for the place or the thing that’s going to set you free. That freedom of letting go and falling into space, giving it over to fate? That’s where real living begins…”
THE LAST RESORT: GREETINGS FROM Track List:
1. The Last Resort | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
2. If I Lived Here | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
3. Two To Two Step | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
4. Take Her Off Your Hands | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
5. Sunrise Tells The Story | Jess Carson, Jessi Alexander, Aaron Raitiere
6. And Then Some | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
7. Longneck Way To Go (featuring Jon Pardi) | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley
8. Life Ain’t Fair | Jess Carson
9. King Of Saturday Night | Jess Carson
10. Paycheck To Paycheck | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Rhett Akins, John Osborne
11. Bury Me In Blue Jeans | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
12. Adios Cowboy | Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Mark Wystrach, Marv Green, JT Harding