Germany’s Rob Georg sings what’s it like being a professional cowboy. The grit. The bloody and blistered hands. You could say the same thing about learning to play a guitar and even writing a song. He does ‘em both in the packed 15-song album Radio Cowboy. Relying more on strong storytelling then over-the-top music beds, Georg’s debut American album is exceptional.
While there are quite a few favorite tracks on this album (Georg certainly gives lots to choose from), this Kristin K. Smith-produced collection is less Nashville sounding as it is Georg sounding. He really brings his unique perspective of being a professional equestrian. Other singers and songwriters can describe tractors and being on the farm, but not many songwriters captivate the listener the way Georg does in the song “Carry The Wind”. I found myself invested in his personal story of losing a horse. He sings about all the memories of being with that horse flooding back to him, playing right before his eyes. I think we’ve all been there – losing someone or something so important to us and we want to have a rerun in our minds. We want to be in that moment forever. I think what makes “Carry The Wind” so special is that Georg makes you feel like you can hold onto that memory forever and it’s a part of you.
My other favorite song “Dust” is quite the opposite in terms of subject matter. Georg sings of the life of a cowboy and this is a faster rhythm, bigger guitar riffs and rocks it out a bit more. It’s more Big & Rich than the more traditional sway found in “Carry The Wind” and not as heartfelt. It’s easy to imagine “Dust” being belted out on a bar on a Saturday night and the whole bar just singing together. My favorite line – “but cowboys don’t cry, we just get dust in our eyes” made me smile.
The third song I enjoyed the most is the ballad “Push That Horn”. It’s another song about the horse industry, but it’s also about his former horse trainer. The moving guitar bed is a kaleidoscope of emotions and just stirring enough to put the lyrics and Georg’s moving vocals into the spotlight. Georg sings “he yelled ‘push that horn’ and I did, ‘til my hand was torn and it bled. If it wasn’t for him, wouldn’t be where I am. He gave it all so I could win. So I could win” and there’s this slight break in his voice, almost like he has a lump in his throat. This song reminded me of all the teachers, all the cheerleaders in our life that push us to do our best. It’s a poignant song. Just stunning.
With 15 tracks, Georg has made it easy for music fans to find something that really connects with them. But what makes Georg so special and what makes Radio Cowboy so special is the humanity he brings to each song – while they might be about horses, or being a cowboy, being a rancher or even being a solder, Georg eloquently puts to music human nature and love.