If you are familiar with Bobby Mackey’s in Wilder, KY, then you are familiar with the nightclub itself being billed as one of the most haunted places in America. What you need to need to do is forget about the ghosts and familiarize yourself with the country music of Bobby Mackey.
“When it Comes to singing country music, I know only one way… The traditional way. I’ve been singing true, real, traditional country all of my life. It works for my fans and it works for me,” says Bobby Mackey
And Bobby Mackey carries on that tradition with his latest release, Country Music Lives On. My first reaction to listening to this album is: 1. I HAVE TO GET BACK TO BOBBY MACKEY’S FOR FINE COUNTRY MUSIC. 2 THIS IS A DAMN GOOD ALBUM!
So what makes Bobby Mackey’s Country Music Lives On a damn good album? It’s unlike anything out there today in mainstream country, alt-country, Americana, etc. And why is it unlike anything else? Because it is an honest to God, true honky-tonk country album. And the way country music is today, that is hard to find. Country Music Lives On doesn’t create fake imagery of the country music scene today. It creates a scene remenicinst of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. When country music was good.
Bobby Mackey gets this record started off with “She’s On Her Way To Florida in the T-Bird.” And not only does Bobby know country music, he knows KENTUCKY. ” “…but its cold in Kentucky, I can’t stand that ice and cold.” Considering the weather we just go out off, Bobby speaks truth. And who doesn’t like the thought of a good-looking women in a T-Bird? But that is what you are going to like about this album. Truthful, humorous, reflective and auto-biographical.
Speaking of auto-biographical, we get a musical glimpse into the fine establishment that is Bobby Mackey’s Country Music World with “Kind of Place that Toby Would Love.” Almost as if Bobby was writing a letter to Toby Keith, telling him about all the great aspects of the bar. Creatively intertwined with lyrics from Toby Keith’s songs, the characteristics of Bobby Mackey’s Country World and Toby’s lyrics mesh well, creating a mental picture that this might be the last great honky-tonk on earth.
This album is traditional, fun, auto-biographical and a tribute to all of the great country music that Bobby has encountered throughout his years listening and playing country music. “That Jones Boy is Gone” is no tear-jerker. If anything, it makes ya want to drink…heavily…in honor of the Possum. You want to pull up a bar stool and trade stories with Bobby about the dang Possum. The tribute continues with “Song About Hag.” As Bobby sings “If not for him, I would have no songs to sing.” And with that, you’ve gotta give Merle Haggard thanks!
The title track, “Country Music Lives On”, is a timeline/auto-biographical journey about the country music that Bobby loved growing up. Not only the fact that he loved the country music of Hank Williams, but we also hear about Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, a Roy Rogers’ guitar, and all the sounds coming together in Bobby’s father’s grocery store.
We keep on with this fine honky-tonk sound as Bobby takes us to church with “I Saw Jesus on the Wall.” More great tracks on this album include “You Can’t Stop Love”, “She Walks the Hills” and “Poor Pearl Poor Girl.” The later two songs conjures up something up from the spirit world, but with a cold PBR in your hand, your foot will be a stompin’ with the up-tempo style to these songs.
One of my favorite songs on Country Music Lives On would be “Paycheck Was a Shove it Kind of Guy.” You’ve gotta have a good chuckle at the title, however, on the flip-side of that chuckle, you need to understand how serious Bobby Mackey takes his country music. How do I know? Social media. Also, how many country artists do you know that writes songs about Johnny Paycheck? The theme of tribute and influence rings true with “Paycheck…”
My absolute favorite songs on this album is “Where Hank and His Left Off.” Damnit, I want to drink to this song! I want to raise hell to this song! I want to dance with pretty girls to this song! I want to listen to Hank Williams Jr. Again, tribute and influence, but it is a message to all those out there. Despite how bad country music is today, Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band are here to preserve the sound and tradition. And yeah, we are steeped in traditional sounds of country music, and we’ve been around, but we can still raise hell. I dig the message.
Speaking of “Me and my rowdy friends are picking where Hank and his left off” we need give credit to the musicians on this album.
Kerry Marx-Elect Guitar, Baritone
Pat Severs-Steel, Dobro, Acoustic
Glenn Duncan-Acoustic, Fiddle, Mandolin, Banjo
Mark Prentice, Duncan Mullins – Bass
These fine players along with the songwriting of Bobby Mackey produced a great country album that doesn’t play into the modern trends of current country music. It doesn’t fall into the trap of the mainstream Nashville culture and the artists and fans that have ruined country music.
As long as Bobby Mackey is making country music, REAL Country Music Lives On.
“The way it was is still the way it is” as they say at Bobby Mackey’s Country World.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Follow Bobby on Twitter @bobbymackey
You can purchase Country Music Lives On at www.bobbymackey.com