Album Review – Tony Logue’s “Jericho”
Well look at this. The new car smell hasn’t even worn off of 2022 yet, and we already have an entry for what might be one of the better albums of the entire year. Of course, the ultimate conclusion on that won’t come until we see what kind of competition stacks up over the coming months. But what we can confidently deduce at this point is that Tony Logue will be one of 2022’s greatest discoveries for attentive listeners.
Make your way off the main roads, and down the two tracks of rural Western Kentucky where the promises of modern society are left unfulfilled, and the souls haven’t been lifted up by the march of progress, they’ve been abandoned by it, and become refugees of it. It’s a place where earning your daily bread is a dog fight, yet you can’t fathom fleeing due to the familial ties binding you to the land. It’s a place where no matter how far away you run from it, you can never escape it. This is the world of Tony Logue and Jericho.
Tony Logue isn’t new to singing about the rigors of Western Kentucky life, and how they intertwine with the raw geography of the land, and the graphic history of bloodlines. His 2018 acoustic album Serpents and Saviors is a fine showcase of his sharp storytelling mixed with cutting observation. But Jericho ups the ante by pulling out all the stops and assembling the right pieces to help tell his stories in this time and place in music.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Kentuckians Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers, Tony Logue released a “Live on Red Barn Radio” session in 2019, and brought engineer Sean Sullivan on board for this album who’s worked with Tyler and Sturgill in the past. Jericho also features Russ Pahl on steel guitar, Tammy Rogers of the SteelDrivers on fiddle, drummer Jason Munday, and Sturgill drummer Miles Miller on harmonies. In other words, all effort was expended to make this a breakout record.
None of this is of consequence though if the songs of Jericho aren’t washed in the blood of the authentic rural American experience, and lucky for Tony Logue and the audience, they most certainly are. Louge doesn’t venture too far afield from the lyrical frames that have proven effective for this style of folk-infused country for others over the last few years. You’ve got the songs of running out of money, running from your past, running down an abusive lover and dumping their body in a river, and even a song about a forbidden love crossing racial borders.
Tony Logue has studied what has ensconced songwriters like Tyler Childers, Chris Knight, and Arlo McKinley in the sky box of roots music in this current era, and he draws from that same well of inspiration, perhaps at a slight risk of originality. But it’s how he is able to bring these experiences to life that results in the immersive buy in by the audience as opposed to being just another Kentucky songwriter braying on about hard times. His song “Welder” about a desperate laborer employs such specificity of detail that it puts you right in the same mood of despair that blurs the line between good and evil, while Tony’s lyrical delivery makes everything that much more believable, and cutting to the bone.
The emotionally roiling moments of this album are also enhanced by the imaginative and moody approach to the music of the album. It remains mostly true to the country roots of the Kentucky region that inspires this music, while Tony Logue’s thick twang grounds it to the setting. But resonant strums of electric guitar chords more concerned with mood than composition, and cracks on kettle drums at critical moments leave one with a lingering chill. Taking words, story, and music, and translating them into visions in the minds of the attuned audience is at the heart of the magic of Jericho.
After 12 songs, it all does become a bit overwrought and emotionally taxing. Even the more uplifting moments of the album still come from the often stern subject matter of religious observance. There are few opportunities to come up for air on Jericho, but little about the execution of this album is worth questioning, while the enveloping listening experience it delivers is exactly what many hardcore listeners are on the hunt for.
It’s no coincidence that Kentucky continues to feed our appetites for authentic country and roots. It’s where the music originally emerged from, and it’s where the right ingredients (for better or worse) still linger where its natives don’t have to engage in cosplay to convince you of their authenticity. They just have to tell the stories of themselves, their family, their neighbors, and their life.
1 3/4 Guns Up (8.5/10)
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Purchase from Tony Logue
January 10, 2022 @ 9:45 am
Silas is Steve Earl
Welder is Bruce Springsteen
January 10, 2022 @ 10:21 am
My reaction on first hearing him was he sounds a little like Springsteen. Love the sound and the songs.
January 10, 2022 @ 11:08 am
Nailed it Brad. I had the exact thought. I like his sound. Its an aggresive Country Rock blend. Incorporating early Steve Earle( Copperhead Road and The Hard Way albums) and some Springsteen subject matter.Maybe a bit of Travis Tritt attitude in there as well. Great find Trig!
I will take him to task on one point though. Welder: typical Springsteen subject ie…a union man struggling. In this case a union ironworker who is struggling to make it. Im involved in supervising bridge projects in Ohio right now, and work closely around union ironworkers all the time. These boys are paid VERY highly, in fact one of the highest of paid tradesmen is a journeyman ironworker. Welders in particular are gold. Work is super plentiful, in fact more workers are needed. There is no “struggle” in my area, and with the infrastructure bill passing, theres a money train to be had funding even more public projects. Id say the only obstacle might be the supply chain.
But, its artistic license and makes for a compelling song, i suppose. I will say ironworkers are definite roughnecks. So there is quite a bit of drinkin and druggin to be had. Maybe in that sense you could make an argument about the struggle.
January 10, 2022 @ 12:28 pm
A prevailing wage doesn’t mean anything when the work is dried up. Also about a pipefitter, not an iron head.
January 10, 2022 @ 1:19 pm
Welding and fabrication is basically the only work I have ever done. My area of expertise is in high end architecture, currently retrofitting 1940’s windows. Not something any union shop around here would touch, I don’t make as much as they do in the union but with a projected shortage of 250,000 skilled metal workers by 2030 it’s definitely something you can do to make ends meet. Either way I will be checking this out. Artistic license is just fine with me as long as the characters aren’t burning their arms because they wear short sleeve shirts. As far as pipe fitting goes I think it’s even easier to get work, but it may require migration which understandably not everyone wants to do.
January 10, 2022 @ 1:46 pm
I wish I would have pursued a worthwhile occupation like that. I’m going to push my boys in that direction.
January 10, 2022 @ 3:00 pm
My public high school had a well funded welding shop with a great teacher, it’s what kept me from really just turning to crime or something. Not for everyone but I try and teach my daughter a bit so at least she can make things if she wants. I don’t want to force her to play music or work in a shop but at least she is growing up knowing that songwriting and building things is a normal thing people do. Good luck with your kids, I hope they catch the bug! Also I don’t think other occupations are not worthwhile, but if you enjoy what pays the bills that is a huge plus!
January 10, 2022 @ 3:34 pm
Yeah, I work construction so I know about the struggles of skilled workers. Its not lack of work.
Its having so much work you can’t handle it and trying to keep all your clients happy and wearing your body out with noise, dust and chemicals, and then listening to musician friends tell you how lucky you are and can you contribute to their kickstarter because they have money and have to sit on the couch and play guitar.
No one thinks you have any reason to complain because you’re making money and in demand, but its still a hard job and stressful in many ways.
Difficult to write a song about that, so lets keep saying ‘poor man who can only work with my hands and mean bosses’ Also don’t mention unions around me. Woody would turn in his grave to see how they’ve become something to hide behind instead of doing a good job.
I still like the sound of the music.
January 10, 2022 @ 4:02 pm
Thanks for weighing in Josh. Yep, construction does take a toll on a person. I paid my dues working years as a carpenter before getting into management and Civil public works projects. But its been a fascinating journey thats taken me places. No regrets. And im only partway through my career.
As for the artist here, Tony, hes a great writer and i anticipate catching him live sooner than later. Starting to think the Kentucky scene just may be the new Austin scene in terms of songwriting. Maybe Louisville becomes the hub?
January 11, 2022 @ 2:13 pm
Yeah, definately no regrets. I couldn’t imagine a life where I couldn’t look at a building and know what its made of and how to repair anything. Its a ticket to anywhere, everyone needs things fixed.
Just the USA is annoying with those damn feet and inches….. so painful to work with.
Seems to be the place to watch. Will be on my list of places to see on my next visit.
January 11, 2022 @ 6:22 am
Earle owes a lot to Springsteen
January 22, 2022 @ 2:06 pm
Welder is Springsteen.
January 10, 2022 @ 10:01 am
Big time Drive By Truckers vibes from this album.
The Original WTF Guy
January 10, 2022 @ 10:43 am
I’m a huge DBT fan, but don’t really hear that in this. A lot more country, particulary steel guitar, in this than the DBTs. Regardless, if it’s in the same zip code as the DBTs it can’t be too bad.
What I hear is some Springsteen, mostly lyrically, for example, on Welder (“I met a boy last night down on the docks/told me he had cash on hand/if I’d do one little favor for him/he’d get us out of this jam”). But what I *really* hear is Chris Knight. In fact, for a while I thought maybe this was an album Knight recorded in the late 90s that had just been found.
I wonder if Carla in “Road from Richmond” is the same Carla that Knight wrote about who came home after Daddy went to Richmond.
I like it. In addition to the “Live on Red Barn Radio” album Trigger mentioned, I found one on Spotify from 2018 titled “Serpents and Saviors” that sounds pretty good. A pretty good Eric Church on there titled “Earnhardt.”
January 10, 2022 @ 11:34 am
Yeah. Early Chris Knight.
January 10, 2022 @ 12:49 pm
The Chris Knight references in the songs are intentional, and Carla isn’t the only one.
January 10, 2022 @ 2:02 pm
Great comment Ian. Yes, skilled trades is a GREAT place to find high paying work. Ive been doing public works stuff for a decade and it aint dried up yet. Anybody who can breathe can get hired. I chuckle when i hear these woe to the poor working man songs. ( no offense meant here, Tony, its a good song) But, Im all about the workin man life. These kids coming up all wanna be an “I. T. ” or some tech job. Afraid to work with their hands..so sad.
January 11, 2022 @ 1:17 pm
Calloway County rhymes with Outfit!
January 10, 2022 @ 10:25 am
Just discovered a few weeks ago and I immediately wondered why my feed was full of other KY artists ppl tout as the newest and best but somehow hadn’t yet heard of Tony. Can’t wait to catch my first show this year!
January 10, 2022 @ 10:55 am
I’m liking this
January 10, 2022 @ 11:25 am
Thanks for putting him on our radar. Definitley has a heartland rock feel to it. Of course, the steel guitar is great to hear.
January 10, 2022 @ 12:32 pm
Kicking myself for missing him when he played at Duke’s a couple weeks ago. Dammit. Welder hit me the same way as some others. I immediately went to The River in my head. Great find Trigger
January 10, 2022 @ 4:31 pm
Well trig, after having listened to some others on here that either you or other people thought were great and finding my personal view was more their ok, I think you nailed it with this one in my view. I listened to the whole album and while I don’t love every song, his delivery is still strong. I didn’t really care for welder but I really like calloway county, blood river Baptist church, baptized, sins of my father pilot oak as well. It’s all a little morbid so I would be interested in hearing more positive songs but still it’s a very good album. The first one from one of these non radio guys that I feel I may at least put in my rotation. I look forward to some more material from him though.
January 10, 2022 @ 6:31 pm
I streamed this album 2x today after I read your review, Trig. This is right in my wheelhouse. I’ll make the purchase tomorrow. Thanks!
January 15, 2022 @ 8:15 am
Right? Straight up the middle. Best find of 2022 yet.
January 15, 2022 @ 9:20 am
A major snowstorm is headed my way and I finally got to listen to the album today while busting firewood getting prepared for it. This album is great and I couldn’t think of a better setting to look back on for the first time I listened to it.
January 10, 2022 @ 10:14 pm
That Lid though .. Trigger we need a write up on the guy who made that hat Tony is sporting…
January 11, 2022 @ 12:45 pm
Thats right, a Justin Clyde Williams write up is due!!!
January 15, 2022 @ 8:14 am
Hah came here to say this. What a classy move, by the way, using your promo picture to shout out someone who’s still in the minor leagues.
March 30, 2022 @ 7:34 am
Thanks for pointing that out! Every time a JCW song comes on my shuffle I mean to leave that comment!
January 11, 2022 @ 6:32 am
Solid record, and i agree all songs blend together by the end. I also get a Cody Jinks vibe…
Colby and the Fudge Rounds
January 11, 2022 @ 7:07 am
Dead flowers is my way to early pick for song of the year.
January 15, 2022 @ 9:33 am
Totally agree with this comment. This song gives me the same type of vibes as Head Case by Cody Jinks. The strings, in my opinion, are extremely similar.
January 11, 2022 @ 7:27 pm
Great album.. Miles Miller is a treat on drums. Trigger, I believe you nailed the review.
January 11, 2022 @ 8:29 pm
Probably one of the best you’ve reviewed in a long time.
Really liking this.
January 13, 2022 @ 8:17 am
Great stuff. Chris Knight + DBT + Steve Earle + Cody = 🙂
January 13, 2022 @ 2:31 pm
Overall, a good record. As others have mentioned, his influences are a little too pronounced in spots on this album, but it doesn’t detract from the quality.
I probably listened to “Calloway County” 15 times after I streamed the record the first time
The first verse is one of the best bits of writing I’ve encountered in a minute, completely vivid and raw as hell.
Lots of promise here, looking forward to tracking him in the future. Congrats to Tony on this one.
January 13, 2022 @ 4:14 pm
2022 coming out of the gate strong!
January 17, 2022 @ 10:12 pm
Hell yeah, finally got to listen to this after a long day in the welding shop at and I definitely like it! Great instrumentation and tone, killer lyrics and vocals. I always worry about songs with welding in them, but the premise is awesome, dried up union and taking side work, shop yards are nasty, you would def change clothes in the barn if you had one! I think I like the other song better though (I know I do), killer drums, great guitar and vocals. Love it!