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CD Review: The LACS + Hard Target = RACKET COUNTY


I must confess, it has been a rough time trying to get this RACKET COUNTY music review done. I've been very busy with a plate full of hard knocks served at the daily buffet lately. There's been too much RACKET going on around here: too many doctors, lawyers, businesses, record labels, travel plans, meetings, musicians, artists, Snakes In the Grass, bottom feeders, another hurricane, catfish, cheese grits, politics, boiled peanuts, the Truth about Life On The Road, and people always wanting something for nothing, or wanting to take credit for absolutely nothing of their own. You know, it's called “my LIFE in the world of music”. But, I have had the absolute best time listening to this CD and the local Radio stations while dealing with all of life's mysteries! Every beat, every chord, every lyric, every word of this entire album hits home for me. Welcome To Dodge City, RACKET COUNTY'S title song and second track on this CD, is the latest musical score from the combined talents of The LACS and HARD TARGET. These two awesome bands comprised of Clay Sharpe and Brian King, of The LACS, and members of the band, HARD TARGET's Ryan Fleming, Dustin Bennett, and Wes Breit formed RATCHET COUNTY, and I am here to say...I LOVE IT! The 14 song compilation is the absolute best combination and mix of music, guitar riffs, words and lyrics that I have heard in quite a long time. I expected a mix of rap, hick hop, and country, but I never expected this! WELCOME TO DODGE CITY is a musical masterpiece chocked full of potential #1 hits on several Billboard charts, and at least half or more of the 14 songs have top 10 Billboard potential! This album is an amazing blend of what RACKET COUNTY has now coined as a “DIRT ROCK” music/genre, instead of a hick hop country music mix like with previous LACS albums.

Back around the turn of the century, two mudslingin' rednecks from Baxley, Georgia, aka Brian and Clay from The LACS, were told by Nashville and others that their music would never make it in the music world; that their southern country rap songs did not “fit” into the country music scheme of things. Being from Georgia myself I can tell you this: Don't ever tell one of us that we can't do something, because we will move heaven and earth to prove you wrong and make it happen. It's our way; it's the southern way. You learn that hard work by the sweat of your brow with perseverance and determination will get you everywhere! We know what it's like to earn a dollar; to be true blue-collar. When you're from a small town and have big dreams, sometimes that is your only way “out”, out of there and away from the norm, so you put everything you've got into your dream. Many times you get short changed signing your life away, go busted and broke, get lied to and cheated on, and all while singing your songs on the road in every honkytonk or dive you can find. You don't do it for the money, you do it because you love it....WELCOME TO DOGE CITY. If any of us just starting out did it for the money, we would all be doomed our first show. I am of the mind that The LACS just found the yang to their ying when they combined their talents with the southern rock guitar riffs, rhythm, and melodies of HARD TARGET. RACKET COUNTY is the perfect blend of several music genre's all wrapped into one nice package; adorned with a huge bow and a mason jar of apple pie moonshine for sweetness. 10,000,000 million viewers and fans, along with Billboard Rap and Country Charts agree, “Nowhere took me somewhere!”.

This Is Racket County, the first track on the CD, opens with guitar riffs reminiscent of Ozzie, and the scratchy record sounds from a favorite DJ that meets up with Kid Rock, creating not only a wonderful surprise, but also the perfect music blend introducing and identifying the new band as RACKET COUNTY.
Moonlight, the third tract song, is one of my favorites! The opening musical score reminds me of James Taylor meeting southern rock for a ride on a moonlit country dirt road and howling at the moon. It's another perfect blend of music and lyrics created by both bands! “Holla at the Moonlight....” and yes, I throw my hands in the air every time I hear this song! Just sayin'....
And just when I was getting used to the “Dirt Rock-genre” the band and fans coined, I hear this morsel of goodness! James Brown is track number four and one of the funkiest, upbeat songs I have heard in a long time! I love this song! It's a blend of 70's funky disco era-ish with an outlaw rap twist. With lyrics like Tonight I'm gettin' down like James Brownaddressing social issues such as politics, big government, blue collar worker views, morals, land of the free, and down tolookin' confused like Bruce Jenner in the freeway”. Ha! I had to laugh at that one! “Bow-wow wow-wow wow-wow wow-wowwwww....
Reminiscent of a DJ Glow party and it's hip-hop rap dance music, Nowhere, the fifth track, hits home with their new “dirt rock” music. “Hell I was born and raised in the middle of NowhereGeorgia myself, so I can honestly say you learn that hard work and determination will get you somewhere; anywhere and out of there. You dream big and you work hard to make those dreams come true. “Ain't nobody ever gave me shit”, “you have to earn your way in the world”, and learn that sometimes being from Nowhere Georgia will actually get you somewhere on this road called life. We don't take too kindly to crooked dealings and hinky people, and we dang sure don't talk just to hear ourselves speak. We may be nobodies from the middle of Nowhere Georgia, but “Nowhere got us somewhere” by being honest, good folk.
Sunday, the sixth track of the album, is another favorite of mine as they change music styles once again! This song is more a Bob Marley raggae island man meets a redneck fisherman who can't seem to hold a job down for his bad habit of laying out of work and going fishing every Monday! A funny and witty tale that transports me away from life's reality. It makes me want to sip on coconut juice or an ice cold beer with my toes planted in the sand on a beach or river sandbar somewhere. How Sunday is always spent at home, and skipping work on Monday just so you can go fishing seems about right for a country boy/girls's paradise, don't you think? I think I feel a sickness coming on.....(cough, cough).
Radio, track seven, is the perfect song about riding around and getting lost in nothing but me and my own thoughts. Climb in the truck, ride around with “got no place to go so I turn on the Radio.... set my cruise on 75.... and just ride”. Getting lost with the Radio on and getting lost in your own soul. Turn the cell phone off, crank the Radio up to some “Bob Segar and Night Moves but zeroing in on the dial to some “They call me the Breeze” and “Racket County on the Radio”. Gotta forget the world, shut it out, and “hope to God nobody finds you”. The Radio and driving is an escape from the real world and all of life's complex hard knocks. It's a time to think and breathe, to be free; to be You. So go ahead, crank it up and sing along! Get lost; just be You and take a listen to Radio!
Life On The Road, track eight, is a song about life on the road as a musician and artist. It's not a glamorous life chocked full of money and fame as most think, but more a reality of hectic schedules, demanding managers, promoters, record labels, producers, timing, booking, rushing for this, rushing around for that, every night is a late night, lots of practice and hard work, miles and miles on a bus with the same people day in and day out, venue after venue, and show after show, the bus tires roll. Roll away from family and loved ones, roll away into the unknown, and roll on to the next show, and on, and on, and on, and on to another show.That's Life On The Road every single day.
Track nine, The Truth, is another favorite with it's opening intro! There's a lot of truth on the Radio and in the songs that actually make it to the airwaves. Songs; good songs and great songs come from the heart. They come from experience; they come from deep in your soul. It is a way of expressing your feelings, your hurts, your accomplishments, your sorrows. If the song, your truth that you have personally lived through, reaches out to hit home with it's mark and tugs on those heartstrings of recognition with just one other person's heart, that is a good song, but to reach out to millions and strike that chord among the masses? Well, I would have to say The Truth and RACKET COUNTY won the prize on this one! I even heard a banjo playing with Johnny Cash and “Elvis wearing Blue Suede Shoes” mentioned. I thought it a funky hillbilly diddy, kinda mixed with southern “dirt rock”. I really loved the music, the hooks, the references to Creedance, Otis Redding, Joe Walsh, Tina Turner and Garth Brook's. I loved it all.... and that's The Truth!

I am growing short on space so suffice it to say, the entire album is a masterpiece! Nothing, Snakes In The Grass, Keep Walking, DOA, and DOA-Mix, track eleven through fourteen, respectfully, are all just as awesome as the others on the CD. Through all the hard knocks and Snakes In The Grass you encounter in this business and in daily life; you learn to pick yourself up, hike your big girl/big boy britches up, and you Keep Walking with your head held high. Why? Because you did it, you did it your way! You're not DOA, you're RACKET COUNTY and you did it the DIRT ROCK way! Congratulations guys, the middle of somewhere took y'all somewhere”! HUGS:)

Cc: pdh/Penney Holley, Country Music News International, 17 October 2016.

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