Album Review – Brady Lux – “Ain’t Gone So Far”

Now that everyone wants to go country including Beyoncé, many country folks are wanting to go Western. Thanks to the popularity of the Yellowstone series and Steven Rinella, folks are moving up to Montana in droves, walking around with a stupid chip on their shoulder like they’re Cole Houser, or importing their fair trade gourmet coffee routine and LL Bean wardrobe to the Big M. God help them up there in Big Sky country.

The world is full of Instagram cowboys these days who always seem to have someone there to shoot the perfect reel as they ride off into the sunset. But as the new batch of “Western” musicians bray on and on in service of anachronistic cowboy cosplay, Brady Lux is here to sing about the true cowboy experience of today, which is a strained relationship with the modern world, trading out horses for 4-wheelers, and fighting off high feed costs and the onslaught of land developers.

Forget not having a fancy label and marketing team, Brady Lux doesn’t even have a Facebook page, or any social media for that matter. From Big Timber, Montana between Billings and Bozeman, Brady is a genuine ranch hand cowboy who works his ass off every day, and at night he writes songs and saws a little fiddle when he can find the time. This has resulted in songs that don’t rely on nostalgia, but offer honest insight into the strange juxtaposition of a real Montana cowboy trying to interface with the ever-evolving world.

This is all perfectly encapsulated in the opening song “Little Bo Peep” off Lux’s debut album Ain’t Gone So Far. It takes both cutting humor and absolute truth and delivers them with wit. This is Western music for 2024 that conveys the actual reality of things, and tears back the veneer. Same goes for the second song “Four Wheeler Cowboy” and the commentary of a traditional cowboy trying to navigate the contemporary world, “Bozeman Girl.”

But this isn’t all pissing and moaning about Californians moving to the mountain West and the scourge of Tik-Tok. “Take Me Back to Montana” might be about feeling unfamiliar with the world outside of the Big Sky country, but at its heart it’s a song about appreciating Montana as home.

Helping Ain’t Gone So Far along is the fact that the music is straight country and Western, with lots of steel guitar and fiddle layered on strong. Produced by Landon George and Jackson Grimm, the twang really cuts through the mixes, and the musicianship is one of the album’s assets.

It’s fair to say that a few of Brady Lux’s songs could have used some tightening up with the writing. Some lines falter or fail to rhyme. But that’s gonna come with the authenticity of this music. These are songs and tracks written and recorded in Montana, and presented to the public warts and all. If you want perfect, like the sheen on a Southern California investment banker’s Subaru who just moved to Bozeman, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Feeling patently unfamiliar with the modern world is what brings out the relevancy and truth in Brady Lux’s Western music. With only seven songs, Ain’t Gone So Far feels like a starting point as opposed where he’s ultimately going. Incredibly humble and maybe a bit shy according to friends, he may even feel weird that people are even talking about his music in the online world. But what Brady Lux is cooking up in Big Timber, there’s an appetite for around the world.

1 3/4 Guns Up (7.9/10)

© 2024 Saving Country Music