Stranger Friends are a country group that take more describing themselves than their self-titled EP release. They’ve managed to record a full soundtrack for a 2018 Burt Reynolds movie they submitted one song for and found themselves doing. It’s enough to have accomplished that before releasing these five tracks. But Jamie Floyd and John Martin have been working at their craft long enough to pull anything off once you’re familiar enough with what they’ve cooked up together.
This isn’t a pedestrian country act, it’s the real thing. But it really all depends on your taste, it’s they perfectly blend modern and retro country factors.
Beginning with “Country Song” is the appropriate move to show what they’re all about, and that’s country music. It starts off with acapella but comes rocking in after that and a pure country song is underway. Her vocals add a bright light over his while they weave their magic together like no other.
It’s hat tipping, boot stomping good and that isn’t even the half of it. They never go overboard emoting the energy but you can almost see how easy that would be. They keep it together and make sure not to ruin a good thing. That’s just because the energy is maintained when it could get out of hand on such a good song.
If that track is a single, then so is “Sacred Garden” without question, because it too is a maximum delivery. I also find it to be just as good, but maybe they aren’t the singles. That is yet to be seen, but as for this track it’s an enjoyable one. I noticed that much the first time I heard it. And while it might not be the most energetic or lyrically interesting, there’s still something extremely likeable about it.
You just don’t get this quality every day, it’s where influences like Tom Petty come to mind, which they have been noted for, as well as the Everly Brothers, Phil and Don which also come to mind.
They get more serious on “Ain’t Dead Yet” and start to raise the question of death, as some of us get closer to it than life itself. We have- to keep our wits about as we get older, and this whispers a thing or two about that, and carries on about the hands of regret. In its own way this is a tune of colossal proportion, and in a way, it’s just a chant that leaves you empty. But you can’t stay stuck on the fence about it, you either like this or get a so-what feeling from it. It’s good either way, so they win, even if something good still leaves me empty. I was just frustrated and that shows I was moved.
“November & June” gets things back on track with no hesitation. This is a crafty track with all the bells and whistles. It could either be seen-as featured or filler material, depending on how you like your songs. This one is mid-tempo all the way and almost sounds like a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers song. You can tell they really like his style of music on this one.
But they go out on an even higher note with the “Don’t Get Up” with its clever message in the lyrics to really seal their debut deal and make this EP the strongest record it can be. It’s a great prelude for what’s to come by Stranger Friends in the near-future.