Album Review – Jason Eady’s “Daylight & Dark”

January 21, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  32 Comments


If you were asked to populate a list of current country music artists that with no frills and no variations lay down country music as country music was meant to be, Jason Eady would very have to be at or near the top of your list. And if you found yourself beset on all sides by ravenous legions of flesh-eating pop country music fans whose only bane was the authentic sound of true country music being blared in their general direction, Daylight & Dark just might be your ideal go to to win your ultimate escape.

jason-eadyAs a followup to Jason Eady’s 2012, critically-acclaimed country offering AM Country Heaven, here comes a new one that picks up right where the old one left off, unflinchingly immersed in the traditions of country music, taking aim and hitting the bulls-eye at the heart of what country music truly is.

But despite the joys of AM Country Heaven, one of the one concerns I had with the record when reading back through my review was that it was a little too straightforward and mellow, with not enough variation or color to hold everyone’s attention. When talking with Eady recently, he said about this new album, “It’s a little more on the mellow side I think than ‘AM Country Heaven,’ not quite as honky tonk…” and I almost winced. Even more mellow? Eady continued, “To me the two styles of country music that I like the most are that barroom sound, and also the more Vern Gosdin, Don Williams, mellow side of it. And this one definitely leans that way.”

But the mellowness is not a burden on Daylight & Dark, it is where Jason Eady improved from his previous work. Where AM Country Heaven relied somewhat on the sheer countryness of the music, and the contrast that created compared to Eady’s previous musical direction, Daylight & Dark delves deeper into composition, poetry, and a linear story, stripping the music back even more to expose the soul and inspiration behind it.

Don’t go thinking there isn’t any good times or foot tapping on Daylight & Dark thought. Boiled down, this is every bit of a classic country drinking album, soaked in alcohol from stem to stern. It just takes a honest look at both sides of the drinking equation—the good times, and the consequences, and a life that bounces in between them searching for equilibrium.

jason-eady-daylight-and-darkDaylight & Dark finds Jason Eady paired up with his fiance Courtney Patton, who fans of his live show will be quite familiar with. Patton co-wrote three of the album’s tracks, and lends vocals on just about all of them, including the duet “We Might Just Miss Each Other.” “When we went into the studio, we had been singing those songs together for a year,” Eady explains. “Those parts grow over a long period of time, and makes it sound more natural.”

Two other famous names lend their talents to the lively track “A Memory Now” when Hayes Carll and Even Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours stop by the studio. Daylight & Dark is very much a Texoma effort, with geography being a player to the overall story and in songs like “OK Whiskey” about the scourge of Oklahoma’s government-mandated 3/2 diluted brew, and its followup “The Other Side Of Abilene.”

Where Jason Eady finds his sweet spot on the album is in these exquisite, understated, Don Williams-like songs that slow it so far down and strip it so far back that the raw manna of the music is exposed in all its pure, supple wonder. “Liars & Fools” is so tasteful and warm, and so referential to memory, it’s like crawling into a little country music womb. “Daylight & Dark” also captures this classic country warmth despite a little more tempo behind it. And then somehow Jason outdoes himself again, stripping it back even further in the sparse “Whiskey & You” that doesn’t leave a dry eye within earshot.

Sure, when you get this deep into the essence of true country music, you’re going to leave some folks behind. But Daylight & Dark isn’t for them, it’s for the folks that were left behind by what they now call country music many years ago.

1 3/4 of 2 guns up.

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32 Comments to “Album Review – Jason Eady’s “Daylight & Dark””

  • Quite new to this state and country I remember days walking gravelled roads on gray winter days back home dreaming of the orign of the music I love. Thanks to this album, I found back to dreaming. This time in a Streamliner overlooking cow pastures and Cedar trees. I’ve been searching for this since I laid my first tire prints on Texas soil in 2008, the new soundtrack to lifes stumble and strive. Thank you Jason!

  • Thanks for the heads up. This is real country. Something to note: “Whiskey and You” (as it was titled then) appears on Tim McGraw’s 2007 album “Let it Go.” If I could buy this album from Amazon mp3 I would’ve done it already.

    • Did someone else also record “Whiskey & You”? It seems very familiar, but I can’t see me listening to Tim McGraw in 2007. Who wrote it? I haven’t received my jump start CD in the mail yet.

      • Chris Stapleton wrote it…Great song.

      • Chris Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller get writing credits, per Wikipedia. I wasn’t listening to Tim McGraw in 2007, except this song. I like his version a lot, plenty of telecaster and steel guitar. Plenty of truth and heartache.

      • Jason mentioned last night on Roots & Branches that there are 2 cover songs on the album. He talked about Whiskey & You in the show a little then sang it. I’m not sure what the other cover is yet. My wife thought it was Liar & Fools (Trishas) but Jason co-wrote that one. I’ve asked KNBT to post the show, we had a fun time talking to Jason & Courtney after the show.

        • He covered Late Night Diner by Adam Hood. That might be the other one.

          • It is Matt, I just looked over the jacket as I ripped the disc. Adam and Jason are good friends, we’ve seen them often in Luckenbach song swaps.

      • Julie Roberts and Tim McGraw both have recorded versions of it on their respective albums.

    • Daylight & Dark is NOW (1-22-14) available on Amazon MP3 too, good deal! Purchased.

  • Hell yeah. Thanks Mr. Trigger. I’m going to buy the new album when I get home.

    Take a listen to the words he speaks at the beginning of this video (and then watch the whole thing):

    Starting @ 3:00: “Waltz time the way all those Merle Haggard and George Jones song were all done … this record guy cuts him off before he ever sang one word… we can’t have a hit song on country radio in 3/4 time, and that just pissed me off”.

  • I can’t wait till tonight and listen Daylight. Hopefully, I agree with your review cause I loved AM Country!

  • Can’t stop listening to this album. It really reminds me of Merle Haggard’s “Back to the Barrooms”. (I hate to compare because I think is very much his own artist) but by that I mean Jason has that real talent to make a song seem so simple, but really touch on the deeper things in life much like haggard. And that takes a real craftsman or artist. I like what you said Trig “this is every bit of a classic country drinking album, soaked in alcohol from stem to stern.” …….Just a side note it is soaked in a nice barrel aged bourbon as opposed to fireball.

  • I LOVE this record it is the very essence of what country music is supposed to be. hasn’t left the rotation since we got our copy a few weeks back. worth contributing to the fundraising campaign to support real country music and to be able to get an advanced copy. Early favorite for album of the year.

  • Have only heard ‘OK Whiskey’ but I look forward to digging into the entire album in the next few days. This really is my kind of country music.

  • This album is so good. Haven’t been able to stop listening to it all day.

  • Jason is playing here at the end of next week so I was planning on buying the album then, at his merch table at the venue; reading all the good buzz it’s getting is making it really hard to wait!

  • Haven’t heard the full album yet, but his cover of Adam Hood’s “Late Night Diner” is excellent.

  • I haven’t heard anything but OK Whiskey and I really liked that song, so I can’t wait to hear more of the album.

  • The mellow vibe on this record is amazing. I honestly thought his voice kind of got lost on AM Country Heaven. Seen him live and his videos on YouTube and thought that those performances sounded better than what was on that record. Daylight Dark really highlights his voice properly. Plus the songwriting has gotten better, good choices on the songs he didn’t write. Whiskey and You by Chris Stapleton is a modern day classic.

  • I can’t figure out how to order this one yet. I hate iTunes DRM and Amazon started that device verification mess. I was pulling the trigger on ordering it directly from his site (still listed as a physical autographed CD for $10). But, $7 for shipping and handling is kind of absurd sounding. $12.98 + shipping through amazon (although the 3rd party store support he uses ends up going to Amazon.com to process payments though…).

    I should have just done the $17. Now my brain is locked up.

    • You might try http://www.lonestarmusic.com

      Sometimes they have autographed copies for sale too–he was doing an in-store performance there today.

  • always by from the artist…

  • I’m still (im)patiently waiting for my pre-ordered copy to show up.

  • This guy is pure country gold!

    He is one of the few artists you can put on and let the album go from top to bottom and not be disappointed.

    Effortless, although I know he puts in a ton of effort.

    “Whiskey and You” is a deadly song. McGraw did a great job on it, then he went off the tracks into whatever the hell he does now…. but the song is suited for an artist like Eady. Glad he cut it.

    • Tim McGraw and his “Truck Yeah” and the Autotuned wonder he has out now aren’t relevant to his rendition of “Whiskey and You” which is pure country gold. You can like slow and acoustic by a third party but it’s really not comparable in my opinion.

  • Cool blog! I am a 14 year old entertainer in country music and enjoy reading this type of stuff. You can see my music at oliviabeymusic.com and maybe you could write about me some day:)

  • I’ve had it a week now. The entire cd is as I had hoped it would be. The title track is genius and my favorite. What’s yours?

    • As a critic, I’m not supposed to have a “favorite” track. But “Whiskey & You” was the one that spoke to me the most.

  • Maybe I am the only one, but does anybody else that listens to this new album think immediately of Randy Travis. I could hear Randy sing the majority of these songs. There are alot of similiarities in their voices.

  • […] best country albums so far. I haven’t spent as much time with Eady as others (see Saving Country Music), but the album took hold right away and, between Eady’s vocals and songwriting, is only […]

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