The Red Dirt man most responsible for keeping the country influence alive in the regional movement is readying the release of his latest record called Hard Times Are Relative. Jason Boland along with his long-time backing band The Stragglers will be releasing their 9th studio album overall on May 18 via Proud Souls Entertainment and Thirty Tigers.
Hard Times Are Relative was produced by David Percefull, known for working with Brandon Jenkins, Cody Canada, and for working on Jason Boland’s 2011 record, Ranch Alto. Also producing was Adam Odor, who most recently worked with Mike & The Moonpies on Steak Night at the Prairie Rose. Jason Boland and the Stragglers are also credited as producers on the new album that was recorded live to tape. “It’s an upbeat album,” says Boland. “A lot of fast songs, but it doesn’t try to be fast. It just sits in the pocket.”
Though the music is decidedly country, Jason Boland often underpins his songs with a much deeper and insightful message. That was the story with his previous album Squelch, which became the band’s best selling album to date, and the first to debut in the Top 20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts. Boland has now sold over half a million records, and branched out far beyond the Texoma reach of Red Dirt.
“We’ve always just wanted to entertain ourselves and put out music that would be a part of people’s lives, not just something passing to them,” says Boland. “We want to be something more monolithic. We’re just a social experiment at this point … We don’t want to lose the chili recipes and the Schroeder Halls because people are moving on to the faster, louder, and newer. But instead of just hemming and hawing, remembering what’s old and gone, we want to have new experiences within those frameworks—make memories of what’s left of the good stuff.”
The current lineup of the Stragglers includes Brad Rice on drums and harmonies, Grant Tracy on bass, and Nick Worley on fiddle, mandolin, and harmonies. Sunny Sweeney also stopped by to lend some harmonies on the new album, and Oklahoma music godfather Randy Crouch writes the final song on the record, “Grandfather’s Theme.”
Along with celebrating the new record, Jason Boland and the Stragglers are also celebrating 20 years on the road. “You have to be where you are,” Boland remarks about his service time. “Keep plugging away and doing the best you can at any moment. For a bunch of slackers [like us], that’s not too terribly tough … We’re fortunate that we’re not trying to fool anybody. That’s what it comes down to. We’re all loners but somehow a team. Now that I look at it all, I can see: it’s been fun.”
Hard Times Are Relative Track List:
1. “I Don’t Deserve You”
2. “Hard Times Are Relative”
3. “Right Where I Began”
4. “Searching for You”
5. “Do You Remember When”
6. “Dee Dee OD’d”
7. “Going, Going, Gone”
8. “Tattoo of a Bruise”
10. “Grandfather’s Theme”