RODGER KING & CASEY PENN
One of the greatest joys in reviewing CDs is the discovery of new music, especially when it’s the quality of Rodger King and Casey Penn. The Arkansas duo won a state-wide performing/songwriting competition hosted by Infrared Studio and, as a result, released Kingpenn. The 10-cut disc is all originals with the exception of “You Asked Me To” penned by Waylon Jennings and Billy Joe Shaver. Penn’s cut-to-the-soul vocals are featured in several of the songs, including the beautifully written “One Step Away” and “No More Tears.”
If I were to imagine the voice of the Marlboro man, it would be Rodger King. His traditional country sound breathes gritty life into songs like “On The Other Side” and the humorous “55 In A 25.” (I knew I was doing wrong / But my mind was in another place ’til the lights come on / Things were rollin’ smooth and I was on a natural high / ’Til the night I got busted for 55 in a 25.) Ingredients in this recipe of music include country, bluegrass, and a dash of gospel, making for a very tasty first effort from these singers/songwriters.
My favorite song is the opening cut, “Oceans (I Have Cried),” which won an honorable mention in the 2016 Hazel Dickens Bluegrass Songwriting Competition. (They say you never miss your water until your well runs dry / But I could wash away the desert with the oceans I have cried / In bitter silence, cold as stone / I sit alone and mark off years / And while this hurt will never leave me / I’ve cried until there’s no more tears.) Don’t expect a follow-up from them as a duo, but look for solo projects in their future. (www.caseypennmusic.com)BC