Red Wanting Blue: These Magnificent Miles

“Tell me where you wanna go,” Scott Terry offers on the third track of Red Wanting Blue’s newest album, These Magnificent Miles. “Girl, I’ll let you steer the wheel while I drive.”

Terry is true to his word for the majority of the album. Whatever mood you’re in, be it bittersweet and homesick, cocky and adventurous, or just dopey in love, you should be able to steer this 18-wheeler of a record down whatever road you damn well please.

After eight albums, Red Wanting Blue is seasoned enough to almost sound like that group of close-knit friends that always have each other’s backs. Eric Hall and Greg Rahm’s guitars are warm and confident, giving Terry’s already strong vocals a friendly pat on the back, with Ed Davis’ assertive percussion grinning right behind everybody. The sound is tight as hell, yet the feel is unrehearsed and breezy, which allows Terry to focus on conveying strong feelings.

There’s a problem though. While Terry has an excellent delivery, even and easy, while just wavery enough to reveal some soul, it’s appears to be the same soul every time. You can go wherever you like, but you’ll do your fair share of backtracking. Each piece begins with a clever, thought teasing prelude. Then a minute in, you realize that this is almost the same thing you heard two songs ago. There’s nothing wrong with following a theme, but there’s nothing wrong with cutting the thing a little short either. It’s essential to closely follow the lyrics, keeping your eyes open to read the road signs, lest you forget just how long you’ve been driving. You might forget to take that left turn at Albuquerque.

With 12 songs total, clocking in at 53 minutes, you might get the wheel, but Red Wanting Blue’s going to keep its foot on the gas. And it’s going to be on cruise control.

In A Word: Meandering