Every so often, a record comes out of nowhere to seemingly wallop over the head with its unexpected awesomeness. Such is the case with the self-titled full-length debut platter from honky-tonk singer/songwriter The Warden. That’s the nom de guerre for Texas native Ward Richmond, the 37-year-old member of Dallas-based country outfit Boy Named Sue.
“These songs are all pretty personal so I didn’t really want to create an opportunity for three other dudes to modify songs that I was already perfectly content with,” Richmond says of his decision to go solo on the 12-track, 40-minute slab. “Boy Named Sue is a very collaborative effort and these weren’t the right tunes for that project.
“Our goal was to up the quality of the music in order to kick a little extra ass and add some excitement to the lyrics. Basically it is a tonked up autobiography with a little fiction thrown in for good measure.”
The Warden lures the listener in right away with the opening series of tunes “Deny Deny Deny,” “Little Darlin’” and “County Line,” and he late scores with “Salvation,” “Sun Goes Down,” “Interstate,” “High Life” and “Dark Clouds.” This is an album that figures to stay in heavy rotation on my iPod for the foreseeable future. Enjoy, y’all. (Jeffrey Sisk)