Country rock comes back with Russ Still and The Moonshiners bringing “It Ain’t Me” with it all the way from Alabama. The new single is one of several which precedes their 6th release, Goin’ Alabama, and it’s an epic number co-written by Keal Franklin. The songwriting, playing and singing all harks back to the greats of the country and rock radio we used to know and love, but has worn thin in since the 90s. This is done without seeking retro ideas for a modern song to align with the qualities of the past, and because of that it is undeniably awesome.
It wasn’t hard to find out about the background that leads up to where Russ Still is today, which includes five releases under his belt with The Moonshiners and this new album coming should serve to compliment because you’re only as good as your last record. The industry is always there to remind everyone of that, and Russ Still clearly knows it and delivers what it takes to keep fans around and coming out to shows. Russ Still and The Moonshiners play live to back their releases, or the other way around, whoever works for a band these days.
The qualities of what they do speaks for everything and there is no lacking anything on “It Ain’t Me,” compare it to other songs by Stills and crew to see evidence of that and know this is a standard Russ Still and The Moonshiners release. It does not necessarily matter to me who is writing, as-long-as the delivery is up to standard, but Keal Franklin deserves credit for collaborating on this amazing track. Franklin is another independent artist from the south worth keeping an ear to as well, and his presence is felt here so props go to him.
The guitars are provided by more than one player in the band, and I can’t distinguish who is playing what, but it makes no difference to the quality of playing and the superior sound “It Ain’t Me” comes with. And the song just pleases as every note is played and sung, it’s a true country song with a rocking attitude and the lyrics even mention Johnny Cash. The attitude goes back a long way, so it is no surprise to hear Cash exemplified, and it’s done without emphasizing or overstating him. The message is that people have been doing wrong for thousands of years and putting the wrong people in the who to blame sections.
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“It Ain’t Me” entices for more of what’s to come on the future Goin’ Alabama release, but more singles could come before it and if they do and they are anything like this one, it promises to be an epic album release. I never knew such good talent was lurking here, but I am always happy to discover it, especially from the U.S. southern region where the musical flavors go further than perceived. This single earns top marks so far in 2020 country, rock, and folk music circles.