The Storey Boys are just a couple of brothers from Panama City Beach, FL, playing mostly local shows with acoustic guitars, and trying to run down their honky tonk dreams with little plan and perhaps even less of a prayer. But they just released a record that will blow the doors off of what many of the pros put out that have many times the audience and support, yet half the heart and inspiration. But isn’t that the way of country music in 2021?
Brothers Shad and Carson Storey had written and worked up a few original songs, and also had a pretty well-refined arsenal of classic country covers, and instead of trying to do their worst fabricating a home studio out of old mattresses and borrowed gear, they made the smart decision to enlist the help of producer and engineer Aaron Rodgers, known for working on the last Waylon Jennings record and records from Billy Don Burns and others, and headed up to the Round Room Studios in Nashville.
From there they brought in a couple of ringers like “Cowboy” Eddie Long from Jamey Johnson’s band, bassist Kevin “Swine” Grantt from just about any good country record made in the last 30+ years, and the result is called Patterns—a patently traditional country record that immediately impresses with the first few songs that rear back and try to knock the wind out of you with an emotional wallop, and then shows off its depth of knowledge and acumen with a quality run through some country classics.
These boys have some really choice country heartbreakers here. “She’s Gettin’ Even” is just the kind of nuanced, multi-layered delusional and cerebral love song country music needs more of—something that gooses both your head and your heart. “Searching” and “Next In Line” are more classic tales of heartache, but nonetheless well-written and resonant. Then they come at you somewhat unexpected with their best Steve Earle impression in the cautioning and ominous “Ike Brown Holler.”
You really get excited for where this album is going, and then comes a succession of cover songs from the likes of Billy Joe Shaver, John Prine, and “Tulsa Turnaround” by Kenny Rogers that a lot of folks are covering live these days. To a track, the interpretations are great. But with how good the original songs at the beginning are, you kind of want that to keep on going.
You really have to regard this album like two EPs: One that impresses you with a run of original songs that has you both happy in the here-and-now and looking forward to what the Storey Boys may have in store in the future, and then an EP paying homage to their heroes. Nothing wrong with that setup. If you’d received just the first five songs, you might have felt short changed. So this was probably a better option, and there’s nothing wrong with showing your respect for the past, especially on your first album. Maybe they just could have interspersed the covers, and worked in a couple more obscure ones.
I really don’t know much about the Story Boys except they made a country record the right way with the right folks and some good songs, and commanded their fans to bombard me with review requests (you can quit emailing now). Time will tell if they will have staying power or the muster to bust out beyond the Florida Panhandle into the national scene. But this is a good start for sure, and sincerely gets you excited to hear more.
1 1/2 Guns Up (7.5/10)