By Roger Sharman
The Braun family is probably the most famous music family hailing from Idaho. Willy and Cody Braun, the spine of Reckless Kelly and younger brothers, Micky and Gary, mainstays of Micky and the Motorcars. Making up the musical family, father Muzzie, has his own band, Muzzie and the Boys, which brought all members together to perform.
It can be said that both of these bands have been making the kind of music that should have people sitting up and taking notice since the mid-nineties in the case of Reckless Kelly and early 2000’s for Micky and the Motorcars. Call it Red Dirt, Alternative Country, or Americana, Texas Country or Roots Rock, its damned fine music they make whatever you want to call it.
‘Long Time Comin’ has been exactly that, its been over 5 years since the band last released an album, ‘Hearts from Above’, although they did release a live album entitled ‘Across the Pond (Live from Germany)’ in 2015.
It consists of eleven tracks, released by Thirty Tigers records, and produced by Keith Gattis (George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson), including the single ‘Road to You’, a song about being out on tour with the band and trying to get back to the lady who’s waiting back at home.
This album differs from the previous work in that Gary has written half of the songs and taken over vocal duties for those, giving it a slightly different feel. Micky said of the change, “It’s almost a split album between the two of us on lead vocal – very different from our normal. I think our fans will enjoy it. They always love the songs Gary sings live. They always want him to sing more”.
It’s uncanny how much Micky and Willy sound alike a lot of the time, they could interchange bands and only the most diehard of fans would be able to hear the difference between the two. One thing’s for sure though is that if you ever see the name Braun on a record you know its going to be a good one, it’s kind of like a quality assurance stamp.
Whilst the older brothers stayed up north, Mick and the Motorcars, headed to the music rich city of Austin, Texas to ply their trade. One of the hardest working bands on the circuit, these guys will typically spend half the year on the road, so it’s unsurprising that the records come along so infrequently.
Over the years the guys have become an integral part of the Texas music scene, and can be regarded as one of the staples of the region along with the likes of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Stoney Larue and of course, Reckless Kelly, to name but a few.
The fans will be most pleased by this album, ‘Rodeo Queen’ typically has that Texas Red Dirt feel to it.
The melodies that Micky and the Motorcars bring to a record has always been one of the selling points to me for their records, I’m thinking songs like ‘Carolina Morning’ and ‘Rock Springs to Cheyenne’ ‘A Thousand tears’ and ‘Longer Walk in the Rain’. You’ll find yourself at work and whistling the tunes to these songs without having listened to them in quite some time, ‘Alone Again Tonight’ can now be added to that list, its certainly one of those songs that will get in your head.
‘Lions of Kandahar’ takes on a tour of duty to the middle east, it tells the famous story of a spec-ops (Green Beret) mission against the Taliban in Kandahar province, in Southern Afghanistan. It’s a very powerful song, and due to the subject more than anything has a different feel to the rest of the album.
‘Thank My Mothers God’ sounds like it could be a Stoney Larue song. Its another foot-tapper. That contains some quite unusual percussion in it, which suits the melody
‘Break My Heart’ is quintessentially Micky and the Motorcars. As the title suggests it’s a breakup song. It’s country rocker that has a throbbing and ever so slightly distorted bassline, to go with the driving guitars.
‘Run into You’ slows the tempo of the record down, it’s a song about an estranged guy who, hopes to run into his loved one down in town. It goes on to say that he doesn’t know what he’ll say or do, he just wants to see her, so he’ll hang out in the local cafes or bars hoping to see her. The harmonica is very much at the fore of this song.
‘Hold This Town Together’ is typical Micky and the Motorcars, it contains a quite subtle yet very effective slide guitar, the obligatory harmonies are there. The guys generally don’t over complicate their writing, which really works for them. There are no blistering solos or funky tricky bridges, they have a formula that they stick to and it works as a rule.
The title track ‘Long Time Coming’ rounds of the album very nicely. Mandolins, harmonica and organ populate the intro before Vocals and Piano Accordion kick in. There’s a lot of subtlety in the instrumentation on this track, each time I listen to it, I notice a different sound.
These guys make good solid Red Dirt music. I wouldn’t say there anything ground-breaking on this record, its exactly what I would expect from a Micky and the Motorcars record. It’s full of very good songs all the way through, there are a couple of outstanding moments for me at the beginning of the record but then it just seems to meander on and kind of merges into everything that’s come before. Five years is an incredibly long time for fans to have to wait for a record, and bearing that in mind makes it a little disappointing for me. I’d still give it a seven out of ten.