Album Review – The Divorcees – “Drop of Blood”
Turning the stereotype that country music can only come from the Southern United States squarely on its head, The Divorcees from New Brunswick have been eastern Canada’s favorite honky tonk band for going on 15 years now, and promise to continue to hold that distinction with the drop of their latest record Drop of Blood.
Don’t think of other Canadian-based country and Western artists like Colter Wall or Corb Lund. That music from the central portions of Canada takes on a decidedly cowboy flair. The Divorcees are more creatures of the local dive, singing songs of drinking and heartache. The quick, easy comparison would be to all the cool honky tonk bands playing eight nights a week in Austin, TX (pandemic, notwithstanding). Super tight, well-seasoned, with songs easy to two-step and melt away your cares on a Saturday night to, their twangy, straightforward approach to country music is refreshing.
Drop of Blood sees the return of the band’s founding member and original lead singer Jason Haywood after a 12 year absence, and an extension of their legacy of crafting blue collar country. The simplicity of approach by The Divorcees is their strength. Along with bucking the Canadian stereotype, they also dispel the notion country music must do something wildly innovative to remain cool and relevant.
Sure, that might be the case for some genres of music. But for country, it’s always been about upholding traditions. Three chords and the truth. Besides, exhibiting creativity within rigid confines takes much more imagination than coloring outside the lines just for the sake of it.
At the same time, if you’re used to artists and bands that really stretch the possibilities of lyricism in country while remaining within its sonic borders, the purposeful simplicity of The Divorcees may feel like it’s lacking some depth, and fairly so. This is one side effect of not trying to reinvent the wheel.
At the same time, Drop of Blood also turns in arguably some of the band’s best-written songs to date, especially in the latter portions of the track list. Where the early songs like “Dying Breed” and “Making The Scene” will put you in the right mood sonically, and a song like “Must Be Nice” will appeal to the workaday mentally of average traditional country fans, “The Other Side of the Blue” is a really sad and succulent composition that is also excellently sung. This is followed by the heartbreaking “Too Old To Die Young”—not an entirely new concept, but smartly devised.
Keeping it simple in a way that illustrates the timeless beauty and evergreen appeal of actual country music is what makes The Divorcees so valuable, and strangely, unique. Leave it to a bunch of Canucks to figure this out, when so many rednecks south of the border are either selling their souls to go mainstream, or stretching to be hip in Americana.
1 1/2 Guns Up (7.5/10)
January 9, 2021 @ 11:30 am
Wow. Great stuff. The Other Side of The Blues puts me in mind of The Derailers from Texas. Great harmonies, epic telecaster twang and steel in the mix.
The other song, Making The Scene has an aggressive sound to it. Superb guitar licks all over it, love the drumming, kinda Country Rock but catchy. And decent vocals. Good, meat and potatoes honky-tonk stuff.
January 9, 2021 @ 11:39 am
Yes, The Derailers is a good comparison. They really fit right in with all of those Texas honky tonk two-step bands.
January 9, 2021 @ 2:50 pm
Good stuff, killer guitar playing, lyrics are great too… really digging this band Trigger
January 9, 2021 @ 3:06 pm
I like the 2 songs posted for sure- good Country Music
January 9, 2021 @ 3:39 pm
Definitely going to check this out. The thing about simple songs is that people can remember them. As far as Canadian country music goes, first of all it has been part of the scene from the start (Hal Lone Pine, Hank Snow etc) but honestly Canada is a hell of a lot more “country” than the US anyway. A shitload more land than people anyway. It’s honestly kind of funny that this is even being discussed in 2021 as surprising to some. Off the top of my head just in Washington state we had Don Rich, Bonnie Guitar, Loretta Lynn got her start and Willie Nelson was in radio. As far as “city vs rural” going back to “Honky Tonkin” and you have Hank singing about getting blasted at clubs in the city with some married lady! Anyway, I love the name and will definitely listen to it!
January 9, 2021 @ 4:40 pm
wow great record, already a fan
January 9, 2021 @ 5:09 pm
Various Canadian artists have had country music hits through the years, such as,
Your Freezin’ Heart
Ontario by Morning
Blue Hands Freezing in the Rain
I’m So Frozen I Could Die
Make the Blizzard Go Away
White, White Snow of Home
Sunday Morning Thawing Out
Stand by Your Fire
Friends in Snow Places
January 9, 2021 @ 8:57 pm
please write these, Some Bored Pandemic Songwriter
January 10, 2021 @ 3:03 pm
January 9, 2021 @ 5:09 pm
great review! couldn’t have said it better myself, they’ve managed to make simple arrangements sound fresh. too old to die young is a hidden gem, great chord structure. album gets little darker around the end but i like the depth it builds
January 9, 2021 @ 5:20 pm
Woohoo, great band from my hometown! The lead singer, Alex Madsen is a “brother” of mine and an all around good guy. Great review.
January 9, 2021 @ 7:04 pm
There’s a long history of country music from that area. Hank Snow was from the Maritimes.
January 10, 2021 @ 12:27 pm
Wilf Carter aka Montana Slim also.
January 10, 2021 @ 5:37 pm
And Stompin’ Tom Connors!
January 10, 2021 @ 7:22 am
Three thumbs up! Thanks for the heads up again Trig, as usual!
The Real John Lee Pettimore
January 11, 2021 @ 6:05 am
Was hoping for a Koe Wetzel review, Trig. What are your thoughts?
January 11, 2021 @ 8:17 am
Can’t review them all, and Koe sits right on the edge of country, if at all. I might get to it at some point. Thanks for the interest.
Wilson Pick It
January 11, 2021 @ 10:12 am
This is good chit. You’ve got quite the radar. The New Brunswick scene, wow.
January 11, 2021 @ 4:38 pm
I actually got some George Strait vibes from this album!
January 12, 2021 @ 6:27 am
I listened to the whole album and it’s really good! Very easy to get into!
January 12, 2021 @ 7:21 am
very very very good stuff, the straight kind one sometimes needs. They remind me a bit of the rhyolite sound (another great band discovered through SCM).
April 4, 2021 @ 7:13 am
From a fan in the lower 48, WOW !!! Great review of a fabulously REAL record.