Country has been enjoying a massive spike in talent from its independent underground lately, and among the more intriguing acts to catch my attention this year has been Richard Lynch, a blue-collar country singer whose music can’t help but evoke imagery that is endearingly American, through and through. Lynch’s brand new album, Think I’ll Carry It On, comes to us frills-free and sporting a homespun artistry that is refreshing to hear right now, when it feels like country music is as in love with sonic indulgence as mainstream pop has been. Think I’ll Carry It On is a product and celebration of the unrelenting American spirit, and it’s an excellent acquirement for any patriotic music fan this season.
There’s a lot of gospel influence in this record, but Lynch avoids overstating any religious themes in the bulk of his lyrics. “Pray on the Radio” is simply moving in its velvety, honest verses, while “Love Tattoo,” which features Ronnie McDowell, has the bones of a southern soul ballad with the tonality of a modern country single. Lynch isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve with us in Think I’ll Carry It On; if anything, he’s volunteering more of himself to listeners in these songs than he ever has before.
Conventional country swing is bountiful in “Fast Times and Easy Money,” “We’re American Proud,” “Another Honky Tonk Song” (Leona Williams stops by for some melodic sparring in this track) and “The Old Feed Store,” while the plodding arrangements in “Daddy’s Guitar” and “Back in 1953” are slightly more experimental and twice as tension-inducing. There’s always a cathartic release to every ascending groove that we come in contact with in this album, and that in itself sets Lynch apart from most anyone in the eclectic “New Nashville” that critics have been abuzz over throughout 2018 and 2019.
With so much hybridity in country lately, it should come as no surprise that a record like Think I’ll Carry It On sounds as off the cuff and original as it does. Even taking away Lynch’s amazing command of the backing band here, there’s a smooth, reliably rhythmic stylization of this tracklist that keeps us engaged from the moment that “We’re American Proud” kicks off to the second that “They Don’t Play ‘Em Like That” retreats into the silence from which it first emerged. By keeping things simple, he yields a wealth of melodic gems in this LP that my gut tells me we’ll still be talking about when it comes time for those fabled year-end award ceremonies.
I love what Richard Lynch is doing with his music right now, and to be frank, I can’t wait to hear more. Think I’ll Carry It On is an album that doesn’t demand anything from its audience in exchange for a healthy portion of percussive wallop, dexterous string harmonies and a whole lot of exquisite all-American lyricism that could get anyone excited for the 4th. This is one of the smarter country releases that I’ve listened to this June, and it’s got the potential to bring its creator into the limelight of the primetime stage once and for all.