by Kevin Kozel
They may be nearly 30 years old as a band, hell, they may have even already won a Lifetime Achievement Award at 2008’s Americana Music Conference, but you wouldn’t guess it by the freshness of the latest release from the Nashville Americana legends Jason & The Scorchers. Halcyon Times is their first album since 1996 (remember what you were doing then?), and it is a rockin’ good time of an album.
Halcyon Times certainly opens as well as an album could, it rocks from the opening notes of “Moonshine Guy – Releasing Celtic Prisoners”. The track has a bit of a Reverend Horton Heat vibe that I like. From there on out you’re looking at another solid and fun 13 tracks. The songs are all well written and full of variety. You get some acoustic tracks, some ballads, some Americana, a little rockabilly, some punk flavored country, all kinds of stuff. And it gets better with every listen honestly. For some guys that have been around a while, there is certainly still some indie fire in them.
The only gripe I have with it is that the vocals don’t entirely work for me on some of the slower jams, and that the boys can probably just stick to rocking instead of a couple of those. So there are a few songs that I am not personally all that keen on, but they aren’t bad songs, I just don’t really care for the way they’re done here. I think they could be great if done a little differently or by someone else, certainly not a bad problem to have really.
That said, the album closes just as well as it starts. I love the raw rock of “We Got It Goin On” (which they certainly do), and just before it “When Did It Get So Easy (To Lie To Me)” really holds that feeling of the band having a good time recording that is generally so hard to give off on a recording. I think that is the best thing about Halcyon Times though, you really get the sense that Jason & The Scorchers had a lot of fun making this album and it comes through the speakers and into you as you listen to it.