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Sterling Drake (from the album Live from The Station Inn available on Calusa Music) (by Mason P Winfree)
Sterling Drake is an artist as multi-faceted as the songs he sings. His artistry is forever captured on his latest release – a five-song EP recorded live at the legendary Station Inn venue in Nashville, Tennessee. Drake has strong ties to the West and it comes through in his delivery of the hand-selected tracks that he has chosen. His performance actively carries tradition forward live from the very stage that has held the likes of Bill Monroe, Vince Gill, John Prine, and Alison Krauss. Backed by a cast of some Music City’s best including Joe Spivey, Jeff Taylor, and Dennis Crouch of the Time Jumpers, Sterling Drake stands tall and holds his own showcasing that he feels right at home on that legendary stage.
With his strong connection to the mountains of Western Montana, Drake conjures images of the cowboy lifestyle with his selection of songs bookended by two Western-swing standards originally recorded by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Kicking off the EP is the all-time Country standard, “Bubbles in My Beer”, which was co-written by Bob Wills, Tommy Duncan, and Cindy Walker. The song has been recorded by many a Country legend, including Ernest Tubb, George Jones, and Willie Nelson. From that very first track, Sterling Drake demonstrates some of the best in Western Swing today. With his smooth vocals and masterclass backing band, Drake exhibits why Western swing and honky tonk music is not merely an elementary artform, but one that is artistically complex and moving.
The second song on the EP is one that was written by Arthur Leo Owens and Sanger D. Shafer called “I’ll Break Out Again Tonight”, which was originally recorded by Merle Haggard in the early 1970s. The song details an inmate who dreams of breaking out of prison to reunite with his wife and babies. The song was one of personal meaning to Haggard, but Sterling sings it with such a conviction that you believe every sing word. Sterling’s subtle country vibrato shines on the traditional country weeper which is beautifully paired with the cry of steel and fiddle.
Amongst the collection of Country standards, Drake also included one of his own original songs called, “Until I Forget”, which was originally included on his 2021 album, Roll the Dice. The song sounds like a classic tear in my beer number with the narrator yearning to forget his loneliness in the midst of the nightlife he surrounds himself in. The fiddle and keys stand out on the instrumental breaks elevating the song to great heights and the lyrics establish Sterling’s knack for crafting an impactful country song.
Sterling Drake’s take on the familiar John Anderson classic “Seminole Wind” sees him leaning into more modern country territory and with great success. Joe Spivey’s unmistakable fiddle rings out on the track and the lyrical content hits close to home for Drake with the song discussing the draining of the Everglades in his home state of Florida. Closing out the EP is the Western swing standard, “Take Me Back to Tulsa”, which was originated from a Bob Wills fiddle tune that later had words added by Tommy Duncan in 1941. The closing track sees the band grooving out with exceptional instrumental breaks from the all-star cast of musicians.
Sterling Drake is an artist that not only sings and plays in the traditions of Western swing, but also devotes his life to ranching and land conservation. Simply put, Sterling Drake is the real deal. He’s singing the songs about a lifestyle that he knows because it is his own. With this recording Live at the Station Inn, traditional Country fans should sleep well knowing that their music is in good hands and it will continue in the same spaces that have long cultivated its heart and soul. (by Mason P Winfree)
Listen and buy the music of Sterling Drake from AMAZON
Please visit the Sterling Drake website for more information
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