Album Review – Triston Marez (Self-Titled)
If we could wave a magic wand, rub a genie bottle, hump the veritable leg of Music Row like a hot and bothered little dachshund, and have our wishes granted for mainstream country music and its radio component to completely transform itself overnight, what it would sound like is something very similar to what is embodied in this Triston Marez debut album.
It’s country. It’s traditional. But it’s also not so stuffy and dated that the masses would writhe at the sound of it like so many traditional country fans do when they get a whiff of today’s mainstream country radio, or today’s radio listeners do when they hear Hank. It’s pragmatic, appealing to both young and old, hip and square, mainstream and independent, contemporary and traditional.
Without country radio or help from the mainstream, the music of Triston Marez has already caught fire from a few of his single and EP releases starting back as far as 2017, with certain tracks reaching well over a million streams. The mix of grassroots support from his adherence to the roots, along with his social media savviness and natural charisma, Marez has made himself easy to root for.
Calling Triston Marez traditional country is appropriate, but does come with some caveats. Similar to someone like Cody Johnson, Triston will always keep it country, but don’t expect Cody Jinks or Tyler Childers. The songs still sit in the accessible array of subject matter like girl meets guy, with many references to alcohol, while still avoiding outright Bro-Country, or Boyfriend Country stylings.
There’s steel guitar and fiddle, and no drum loops or anything such as that. But some of the drum rhythms and musical approach do remind you of today’s more modern trends. But hey, Triston Marez isn’t just looking to get the honky tonks two-stepping. This album shoots for the stars, hoping to re-instill some twang in the topmost latitudes of the country sphere, whether radio and Music Row want to play ball, or not. He even scores a duet with Hall of Famer Ronnie Dunn on the song “Where The Neon Lies.”
Songs like the opener “Whole Lotta You,” or the ender “Drink About Me,” or the lyrics of “Day Drinking” may remind you of a twangier version of someone like Jason Aldean. But when Triston sinks his teeth into the more traditional material of the record like “Cold Cold Night,” “When She Calls Me Cowboy,” or shows his roots off with “Texas Swing” with the Sqeezebox Bandits and Jessica Roadcap, it really hits the spot.
Similar to other traditional country guys with mainstream aspirations such as Jon Pardi, Cody Johnson, or Aaron Watson, Triston Marez isn’t going to be right for every independent country fan out there, while he may be just a little too twangy for some whose gateway drug into country music was Sam Hunt or Florida Georgia Line.
But believing that country has a place in country music, Triston Marez has released a debut that looks to serve the sweet spot in between the cultural divide in country, perhaps smoothing out some of the friction, while instilling some needed twang on the mainstream side of things.
1 1/2 Guns Up (7.5/10)
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Purchase Triston Marez
April 19, 2021 @ 8:10 am
Just a really solid country album. Period. Looking forward to his future, much like younger artists Vincent Neil Emerson, Randall King, William Beckman and Trey Hensley.
April 19, 2021 @ 12:21 pm
That was what I was thinking. In a word, “solid”.
Keepin it Country
April 19, 2021 @ 2:10 pm
Class 89’ ?Time for the class of 21’ Baby!
April 19, 2021 @ 8:13 am
Diggin’ it… sounds a little like early George Strait stylin’… and I like it.
April 19, 2021 @ 8:21 am
I honestly think “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” might be the best song on the album.
April 19, 2021 @ 8:21 am
Yep pretty much spot on my thoughts. My only nitpick is a few of the drinking songs are kind of generic, but the Dunn collab is great as is “Cold Cold Night”. My first comparison was Cody Johnson as well.
Might not be year end top 10 material but not too far off
April 19, 2021 @ 8:50 am
I was a little disappointed in this album. I was looking forward to this, and it was just meh. I loved “I forgot about you” and listened to it on repeat last summer. I was hoping for more of that. I just hate these generic rock type songs…there are a few on here. Also, the lyrics are still bro-country-ish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. I just thought he had a chance to really knock it out of the park with his debut, and it fell a little flat.
I’m really hoping Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt’s albums don’t disappoint. Also, hoping Hayes Carll and Mike and The Moonpies release albums this year.
April 19, 2021 @ 9:14 am
I was somewhat surprised at the amount of contemporary sounds in it, but I get what they’re trying to do. Also, the more traditional material comes in the 2nd half, so you have to sort of balance it out. But like I said in the review, I can understand if some traditional/independent fans think it’s not right for them.
April 19, 2021 @ 6:06 pm
I like a neotraditionalist that isn’t afraid to add a bit of “contemporary vibes” in a few songs. It shows that they want to be authentic but want to leave the door open to others as well.
April 20, 2021 @ 7:27 am
I dig it. Cody Johnson and Jon Pardi are good comparisons. There is definitely a place for this kinda stuff in my listening rotation.
April 20, 2021 @ 10:55 am
It’s good to see him putting out a full album, and it’s an enjoyable listen from front to back. I would be more excited if more of it were in the traditional vein that’s tapped in latter half. “Texas Swing” nearly evokes a Texas Tornados vibe, and I can listen to that stuff all day. Many of the other more traditional cuts could be right out of King George’s catalog, also a very good thing.
Now, how about a country song about UNsweet tea?
Keepin it Country
April 20, 2021 @ 4:40 pm
I can’t wait to seen him at Calf Fry in Stillwater Oklahoma. Any of y’all going to that?
April 20, 2021 @ 5:44 pm
Damn! That’s some good shit right there!