Album Review – Bo Outlaw and the Loiten Twang Depot’s ‘Lonestar State Of Mind’

You know, you really don’t need any further proof that actual country music truly does exist than just simply turning off your radio dial and searching for it. Indeed, hit up the ol’ Google machine and you’d be hard pressed to not find something, anything that might satisfy your hunger for actual country music.

Of course, while the Internet is grand for these adventurous searches, there’s still some unfortunate barriers that arise. I’m talking about regional barriers, ones that make it harder for us to find all the music we’re looking for simply because an artist doesn’t originate from our native country.

Hell, you’re pressed to find a steel guitar or fiddle on the radio these days, but elsewhere in the United States? Sure you can. Canada? Hello Lindi Ortega, Whitney Rose, and Corb Lund. Britain? Hey there Ward Thomas! Heck, Australia? Welcome Doug Bruce! Well, you can add another country onto this list of acts that support real country music, because we have a group on our hands that originate from Norway and call themselves the “Viking Cowboys”.

I’m of course referring to our act in question today, Bo Outlaw and the Loiten Twang Depot. It’s not exactly fiddle and banjo country, if you’re looking for whiskey soaked honky-tonk in the vein of Whitey Morgan or Waylon Jennings, then Lonestar State Of Mind is definitely the album for you. It’s an album that evokes the best of outlaw country and comes from the heart. It’s an album that proves real country music exists through the songs rather than protesting how much modern country music blows.

For a debut album, it certainly serves its purpose of introducing the listener as to what Bo Outlaw and the Loiten Twang Depot are all about. Tracks such as “Some Old Silver Eagle”, and “Viking Cowboy” read like autobiographical tales into the band’s roots as well as the struggles they’ve faced on the road thus far. “It Turns My Way” reads like a musical epiphany for the band, citing how music has shaped the band’s lives and careers.

Of course, you see a title like “Breaking Bad” and you just might groan. There might be some guy on American country radio right now currently wanting to be a girl’s “Walter White high”, but Bo Outlaw’s song is a serious one, one that actually sounds country. Led by a Western influence, it just may be the best track on the album with its high energy all throughout. Elsewhere, the title track and the waltz like “Girl of My Dreams” are both undeniably country and very well written.

Bo’s heart resides deep in the trenches of old-school country, and there’s more than a few tracks that serve to highlight that love. “Music City Heroes” begins like a tale of preaching how the only good country music came from the past, but quickly turns into a simple tale of admiration for Bo’s heroes, the ones that shaped his love for country music. The same goes for “One George Jones”, a classic country heartbreak song about needing the music of the legends to help get over a broken heart. And of course, while not exactly essential or anything, Bo and his band cover the great Waylon Jennings’ “Ain’t Living Long Like This” not to prove their outlaw credibility, but simply to show their love and honor for one of country music’s greatest performers.

While Lonestar State Of Mind is certainly a good album, I’m not sure there’s a song that really rises to the level of great or excellent, which may the biggest issue on this album. Tracks like “Diesel Skinner” and “Two-Thirds” aren’t bad in the slightest, they just feel more like filler than anything else. Also, the album does seem to drag on a little too long.

Of course, Bo Outlaw and the Loiten Twang Depot aren’t out to change the world anyway. All they want to do is evoke the spirit of what country music used to be, and I certainly can’t fault them for that. You can easily tell where their hearts are on this album, and for the most part, Lonestar State Of Mind is definitely an enjoyable listen, and certainly a great victory for traditional country music.

(7/10)

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