Chuck Ragan
Gold Country


4.0
excellent

Review

by Channing Freeman STAFF
September 1st, 2009 | 33 replies | 13,783 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A refined and improved sophomore album from Hot Water Music's frontman.

Feast Or Famine was a pretty big album for me and to this day I'm not sure why. There was just something addictive and memorable about Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan playing these fairly simple acoustic numbers. In a time where it seemed that every punk band had a member making a folk album, it was nice to hear Chuck actually taking influences from Western country music as opposed to merely playing acoustic versions of his band's music like everyone else was. For his latest album, Gold Country, the Western influences are even more apparent than they were on Feast Or Famine.

Those who bothered to listen to Chuck's collaboration with Austin Lucas that was released last year, Bristle Ridge, should have seen this coming. Bristle Ridge was basically a pure country album, and while it could have been a huge failure, it was saved by the immense camaraderie that can be felt in the music, and while listening to it, you really can't help but think, "This is what country music should be about." Even though there were guest and gang vocals on Feast Or Famine, it still felt solely like a Chuck Ragan album. Gold Country goes the way of Bristle Ridge, with more instruments and more gang vocals, and ultimately the album is stronger for it. Feast Or Famine's success came from its simplicity; it only took one or two listens to learn the words, and after that you were powerless to resist the urge to sing along. This album is more involved, the music is more immersive, and as such it does take longer to get into. Still, that doesn't mean there aren't immediately affecting songs here; "10 West" and "Glory" are both instant clap-a-longs, and if you liked Feast Or Famine you'll definitely find a lot to love here. And dear god, his voice is absolutely perfect for this style of music.

I actually got into Chuck Ragan's solo music before I really started to love Hot Water Music, and I think that's why I love all of his albums so much. If you really pay attention you'll find that there are huge similarities between country and punk, mostly in the sense of friendship and camaraderie found in both genres. After years of forging friendships in the punk world, Chuck was definitely ripe to make some new ties in a similar genre. The results of those ties were first seen on Bristle Ridge, and with Gold Country, Chuck has refined and improved the sound.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
September 1st 2009



3743 Comments


i'll be gettin this, nice review

Kiran
Emeritus
September 1st 2009



5993 Comments


awesome, im sure ill love this after feast or famine

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2009



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what the shit

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 1st 2009



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i thought we were friends

Athom
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2009



17130 Comments


Sometimes I don't get you Dave...

Digging: LCD Soundsystem - The Long Goodbye

Skimaskcheck
September 2nd 2009



2360 Comments


I'll hopefully get this/another of his albums sometime, saw him and his band on the weekend and it was awesome

KYZAR
September 2nd 2009



513 Comments


ouch 1.5

PanasonicYouth
September 2nd 2009



7411 Comments


so this is good?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2009



17914 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what the fuck do you think a 4 rating means man

PanasonicYouth
September 2nd 2009



7411 Comments


ya but...
dave gave it a 1.5...

scyther
September 2nd 2009



1606 Comments


When you let other people decide things for you fascist dictators take one step closer to ruling the world.

PanasonicYouth
September 2nd 2009



7411 Comments


YAY FASCISM!

lifeisfacade
September 3rd 2009



44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the review, really enjoying the album! I love Sputnik because without this site, I would be missing out on some amazing music! Thanks again

kitsch
September 3rd 2009



5105 Comments


since when does dave have good music taste?

tom79
September 3rd 2009



3347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review Chan. I need to check this out, I dug Feast or Famine. Chuck's the man.


Digging: Bent Outta Shape - Stray Dog Town

descendents1
September 10th 2009



702 Comments


refined and improved are synonyms right?

anyway this soundoff about feast or famine was too short and needs to be refined and improved

/jokes

YouAreMySilence
September 28th 2009



3727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really good.

Mordecai.
September 29th 2009



8257 Comments


wow this is good

SeaAnemone
September 29th 2009



18881 Comments


thats what she said.
I said it too, but about Chuck Ragan's- Gold Country

Mordecai.
September 29th 2009



8257 Comments


I like your style



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