To say that Deryl Dodd is a “survivor” is to be extremely un-original (I have no problem admitting that, as I definitely have no problems calling Dodd a survivor). After finding success in Nashville with several songs that garnered high chart positions, Dodd then found himself in a sick-bed for quite some time with a life threatening disease. He survived and fought towards a full recovery from the viral encephalitis that had kept him out of the spot-light. The time away effectively ended his run as a contemporary country star on a national level, but it didn’t diminish the quality of his music. His post-illness albums have been documents of pure honky-tonk gold, giving him full status as a survivor of the Nashville machine and the music business in general.
Dodd’s recent release, Together Again (Smith Entertainment), is yet another example of his ability to stay on a focused path looking ahead while giving subtle, appreciative nods towards the past. If nothing else, this album is comforting for fans that have followed Dodd since his days of hit making in Music City. The title track is a clever cover of a Buck owens classic, while certain songs seem to almost be companion pieces to songs from Dodd’s earlier works. “All I Know” brings the listener back to “A Bitter End”, when a dramatic break-up was detailed, from Dodd’s Pearl Snaps album. The singer, at this point, is still having a hard time getting over the lost love, but seems to have adjusted with the intense pain that is involved when dealing with turmoil in the moment. “Things You Dont Know” could likely be the bookend to “One Ride in Vegas”. Similar to the title track from Dodd’s first LP, the narrator is looking to remind us of the things that make him feel alive and things he clings to the most. Even the melody has a familar tone to the song from years ago. Leaving the longing and nostalgic themese of those two tracks, “Back to the Honk Tonks” is a barn-burning boot-scooter. When Dodd sings, “they can just all kiss my new Tony Lama boots“, it’s impossible not to think back fondly to his hit from his Live at Billy Bob’s disc, “New Tony Lamas”. That song, which is one of the more irreverant good-time songs of recent memory, endowed its counterpart with it’s energetic charm as well as its footwear of choice.
Fully owning his survivor status, Dodd makes a clear and firm point of again tipping his hat to the past. Almost the entire last quarter of the album would make for a killer country-gospel EP. The highlight of this theoretical EP is “John the Revelator” which includes a home recording of Dodd’s grandparents singing the classic tune way back in 1959. It’s the confidence and security of yes – a survivor – that accompanies the decisions to include these types of gems on an album that really shines through, regardless of the actual song.
by Kelly Dearmore for www.twangerville.com
Deryl Dodd displays bonafide country grit on "Together Again"
By Don Chance
For the Times Record News - Wichita Falls, Texas
Friday, August 28, 2009
Having been privileged to comment on more than a thousand albums in the past dozen-plus years, I always try to stick closely to one simple formula: If it’s promoted, marketed and sold as country music, it had better be country music; it’s my pleasure to point out when it’s not.
So let’s talk about some real country music.
"Together Again" by Deryl Dodd
I admit it, I’ve been a Deryl Dodd fan for a long time. I was the last music journalist to interview him before he suffered his devastating bout of viral encephalitis and, two years later, the first to welcome him back to performing when he wasn’t even sure he could still play and sing for a crowd.
And I’ve always liked his albums because he is an unapologetic country singer and songwriter who keeps expanding his boundaries while still keeping it all solidly country. There are no heavily distorted Southern rock guitar hooks, or clichéd fiddle licks anywhere in sight.
With his new CD, “Together Again,” Dodd proves once again that country music doesn’t have to turn into something different to be fresh and modern.
Kicking off with the Buck Owens classic, Dodd leads his longtime road band through a tight and tasteful set of should-be classics.
“Back to the Honky Tonks,” “Life Behind Bars,” “Death, Taxes and Texas,” “Beer and the Belly” and “Lost Highway” are all good, and the unlisted bonus track No. 13 will come in handy this December.
“Together Again” is a great addition to his already impressive Deryl Dodd catalog!