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Thursday, October 27

A Turnpike Troubadours Show Is the Hoedown You Need. By Dan Fugate

A Turnpike Troubadours Show Is the Hoedown You Need by: Dan Fugate
Look on the country-roots-rock side of the Americana scale and you’ll find a band from Oklahoma called the Turnpike Troubadours. Before my buddy texted me and asked if I wanted to join him for their show on October 20th in Mobile, Alabama at the Soul Kitchen, I’d heard of them, but didn’t know much about them. I’m glad that’s changed, now. 

They kicked off a 22-song show with a track from their 2015 release The Turnpike Troubadours, “Doreen.” It reminded me of old country music, but it had the flavor of something more modern - but not in a Florida Georgia Line kind of way. Thank god. The quality of their playing, singing, and songwriting is excellent. The sound in Soul Kitchen could have been better, though. I can’t be certain if it was the band’s sound guy or the venue’s acoustics, but I’m leaning toward the latter. Maybe it was just an off night, but the mix was heavy and loud, making the vocals hard to understand a good bit of the time. 
My buddy and I spent the first few songs moving around the venue looking for a sweet spot in the sound. Parts of “The Bird Hunters,” “Good Lord, Lorrie,” and “The Funeral” sounded good, but we kept moving. The best we found was just in front of the sound booth. From there, we enjoyed the remainder of the show, which was high-energy and full of relatable themes and imagery. Call it luck, but the first song we heard with really good (read the best available) sound was “The Mercury.” This song honky tonks and rocks in all the right places, and their live performance of it was everything I’d hoped. “Girl, I know you’re gonna wreck this town…” hell yeah!

Next up was, interestingly enough, the next track off of the same album, “Down Here,” probably my second favorite of their songs. Who am I kidding, that whole album is hot. The song opened with a ringing pedal steel. It’s more country than “The Mercury,” and the wording brings to mind a lot of memories from my youth in small-town Alabama. 
Of the 5-piece band, only two members didn’t play multiple instruments. There was guitar, bass, and drums (of course), but also fiddle, banjo, pedal steel, and accordion. Yeah, accordion. The guys from Turnpike Troubadours have talent worthy of your time; I promise. 

Other stand-out songs from the show include “1968,” “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead,” “Gin, Smoke, and Lies,” “Whole Damn Town,” the solo acoustic “Diamonds & Gasoline” … well, let’s just say, if you like the twang of Americana and roots-rock, the whole show was good. Check out the full setlist below. Most of the songs are available on YouTube to check out, and on iTunes etc. to stream or purchase. 

Turnpike Troubadours
October 20, 2016
Soul Kitchen, Mobile, AL

The Bird Hunters
Good Lord, Lorrie
The Funeral
The Mercury
Down Here
Blue Star
Come As You Are
Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead
Gin, Smoke and Lies
Kansas City Southern
Whole Damn Town
Bossier City
Diamonds & Gasoline
Get Drunk, Get High, Get Loud
Long, Hot Summer Day


Every Girl
7 & 7
Long Drive Home