Review by Dillon Daniel
When most think about country music today, their mind doesn’t automatically fixate on Montana or Colorado. Hell, I was quite surprised to learn country had made its way to Saskatchewan, Canada. However, it is Addison Lea Thompson’s debut EP, “Wapiti”, that blends country sounds from the deep south as well as Appalachia, forming a northwestern twang I’ve never heard in modern country music…until now.
To kick off the album, “Stuck in the Rockies” is a song that relates to the wandering soul. This fiddle-laden tune may be about leaving a place all too familiar, however it is this reason that makes it positive. It serves as a great song to turn the volume up to 30 and kick back with your friends, longing for the same thing Thompson wishes to leave.
Contrasting this is “Late Fall”, a song about a love who has ultimately left. What I believe is a more authentic song, it resonates with the matured listener as they know that same emotion. While the tone is somber, it is not sorrowful. Towards the end, we feel hope just as he does, knowing there’s always room for the “what if’s” in life.
“Back to Montana” is what I find to be the perfect track to describe the album: a young artist mixing a new, authentic style with that of those before him. The saloon-style piano is introduced into the instrumental line up, giving the song a honky-tonk rhythm with a western feel (yes, if you didn’t know country and western ARE different). Like the opening track, the listener can imagine scenes of the mountains and forests, images fittingly but not typically associated with country music.
For those waiting for their anthem, “Outlaws Like Me” helps describe the “conflicted moralist”. While not heavily focused on religion, it compares the priest and the night-prowler as humans, something this new wave of country purists seems to be fascinated about. While Thompson knows right from wrong, he doesn’t hide that he’s not perfect and raises his glass to it and others who relate.
Like every country album ever, it’s an unspoken rule that a drinkin’ song must be included. Luckily, “Me and Jim Beam” serves this purpose. Although he can’t find the solution to his problems at the bottom of the bottle, Thompson finds his “friend on the rocks”. However, unlike the typical bar song, this tune is more identifiable as funk and southern rock, 2 shots of Skynyrd with a splash Turnpike Troubadours.
Finishing off the album is “Hey There Cowgirl”, the track that tones it down back to authentic country. Thompson speaks to the girls who come and go, the ones who think anyone else will be better. His attitude is not angry or complaining, rather it’s confident. To anyone struggling, listen to this and don’t look back.
Addison Lea Thompson is a young voice that speaks well to both the old and young crowd. Be prepared to hear something different from what is heard on the radio. It’s a hearty mix of styles and sounds that proves a wonderful country music listening experience. If there is a Honky Tonk Mountain somewhere in Montana, Addison Lea Thompson has staked his claim as the king atop of it.
Purchase “Wapiti” on all major digital outlets or at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/store.cdbaby.com/cd/addisonleathompson