Angie and the Deserters – Country Radio

Primary URL:

Angie Bruyere and her gritty group of musical desperados debuted with 2014’s West of the Night, but even that stellar release will likely leave those familiar with her unprepared for the sheer romping energy contained in her newest release, the single “Country Radio”. This first release from her impending sophomore title, an EP called Blood Like Wine, raises the bar several notches for Angie and the Deserters. The first release garnered considerable attention, but many of the critical notices concerned themselves with terms like potential, promise, and so forth. All such qualifiers can now be removed. The opening single from Blood Like Wine proclaims in the loudest way possible that Angie and the Deserters are here to stay and, eventually, leave a significant legacy behind them.

The guitar twang will hook many within seconds. “Country Radio”, naturally, relies on its guitar work as the musical star of the show and it doesn’t disappoint. It unwinds fiery lead work at every turn around and flavors the breaks with a number of tasty, blues and rock inspired fills that propel the track even harder. The rhythm section churns furiously away behind the guitars, mixed lower, but nevertheless pushing straight ahead with steady clarity. The mix emphasizes the guitars and vocals and they pull off a compelling musical dance that gives this track much of its merit and final impact.

Much of this is because of vocalist Angie Bruyere. Bruyere’s talent is every bit the equal of some of her recently lauded contemporaries helming bands like The Alabama Shakes and others, but goes even one or more steps beyond. Few vocalists have come on the scene in the last quarter century able to so easily fuse various disparate musical elements. There are strong strains of the bluesy belter, soulful balladeer, and honkytonk wailer in her voice. However, she can conjure a nasty rock bite that cuts deep into the ear. Few bands have such a versatile wild card. She takes a superb song on its merits, this track, and elevates it so much higher thanks to the electricity of her voice alone.

She does herself some favors along the way. Bruyere is a committed writer, having written poetry and other creative work for her own pleasure since youth, and those years of literary wood-shedding are apparent. “Country Radio” doesn’t have a single ounce of musical or lyrical fat to drag down its potential. Bruyere does the listener even one better by writing a genuine narrative that, while non-linear, nonetheless casts her firmly in the school of singer/songwriters who have influenced her greatly.

Blood Like Wine, if it has another four or five songs like this, is a guaranteed home run. This is as good as it gets in the genre, a raw-throated and well played shot of hopped up rockabilly that defies you to stand still. It’s infused with an added intelligence that helps strengthen the band’s overall presentation. “Country Radio” automatically makes any list of the year’s best efforts in the Americana vein and possibly represents a watershed moment in this brilliant young singer’s career.


Joshua Stryde