Album review: Please Make Welcome

Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω

Before listening, country music fans should be warned that The Whiskey Gentry’s first studio album, Please Make Welcome, released in August 2011, will be on repeat for the next few months once they get a taste of what the group is all about.

Hailing from Atlanta, Ga., The Whiskey Gentry demonstrates an impeccable understanding for the art of bluegrass and country music.

The first track, “Queen of my Heart,” is upbeat, classic country and a precursor to what mood to expect throughout the remainder of the album. Banjo and mandolin contribute significantly to the authentic country western feeling, but it’s vocalist Lauren Morrow’s voice that really gives listeners a sense of the love this group has for their genre.

Not only talented musicians, The Whiskey Gentry is also tremendous in the song-writing department. “I swear I care when I’m not high,” lyrics in “The Cost of Loving You,” deliver honesty rarely heard in mainstream country music.

The first ballad on Please Make Welcome is another brutally honest song about a regretfully promiscuous woman. In “Alone on a Saturday Night,” Morrow brings life to the protagonist.  “Morning comes with that pit in her stomach,” Morrow sings. “It happened again.” The Whiskey Gentry may be the only group that knows how to make listeners feel bad for a lady with loose morals.

“Eula Mae” came straight out of the saloon. This track offers a genuinely country tone. With a vocal twang and Chesley Lowe’s fast-paced banjo, there is nothing tired about this song.

Track 12, is short, but expressive. “The Gentry” is an accurate representation of what The Whiskey Gentry is — a group that loves to indulge and have a good time. For the first time, Morrow doesn’t take the lead vocally, but the men hold their own. The masculine chorus implies a strong sense of camaraderie  among the group. Everyone loves a great bromance.

The only live track on Please Make Welcome is the concluding song, titled “Comrade.” Though it is without lyrics, the energy in the track does not go unnoticed and is amplified by the sound of the crowd hootin’ and hollerin’ in the background. Michael Smith steals the show with his exceptional mandolin solos throughout the song. The tempo accelerates as the song comes to an end, the audience left in thunderous applause.

The Whiskey Gentry is a must-listen group, regardless of what country music sub-genre listeners are attracted to.