Balanced on Barbed Wire

lyalstricklandEvery now and then while Lyal Strickland is singing I hear a bit of Sister Hazel’s Ken Block. Oh how I love Ken Block. I love Sister Hazel. I could very much like Lyal Strickland I think, ahaha.

Strickland’s new album, Balanced on Barbed Wire, available February 17th, is a “gripping, cinematic dispatch from small-town America – a series of stories in song where desperation is met with relentless determination,” according to Western Publicity, but I’ll be honest I don’t really know how that’s supposed to get anyone to want to listen to it.

What I hear is a folky, mellow rock with an occasional country flair, with the exemption of “Hard to Hold” which is ALL country. I think most people who really like the album will listen all the way through but if they skip one, it might be that one.  Hopefully not though.

Lately I’m all about songs that talk about saving the world because I fancy myself a modern day Wonder Woman you see and thus I need to be schooled on all things superhero. Who doesn’t want to hear a happy kind of song anyway?

Then you move onto  “Knocking Down Doors” and it’s just brutally honest and awfully painful.  I love the soulful composition at around 2:12 in the song.

Nobody knows what they’ve got
Til it’s gone and it’s
All gone now
But you got to keep growing
Keep going keep building
Til you’re on solid ground
Til you’re on solid ground
This house is stripped to the bone
Nobody left it a home

While I feel like these lyrics are a bit worn, songs like this have been written before, I like the music behind them. I’d love to see this man at a show, hear him live, see his face. It sounds like he’s really connected to his music, but I think it would mean more to actually see it. I’m not sure if I have ever considered needing that out of music I’m listening to before. I’ll have to contemplate why this one is different.

Lyal Strickland On Tour
1/15/15 St. Louis MO Evangeline’s
1/21/15 Bloomington IN Player’s Pub
1/23/15 Downers Grove IL Two Way Street
1/24/15 Goshen IN New Paradigm
1/29/15 Cleveland OH Barking Spider
2/6/15 Kansas City MO Knucklehead’s
2/17/15 Kansas City MO Tank Room
Feb 18-21 Kansas City MO Folk Alliance
2/26/15 Dallas TX Opening Bell