It is said by cynics – such as myself – that the country music of today, as of yesterday, is simply the soundtrack to the mundanities of life or, at least, to the life that we all like to think we live. That, of course, does a great disservice to the musical talents of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette and Miranda Lambert but the truth, as any politician knows, is always in the presentation of the illusion and Mandy Rowden pulls that very trick off with her album “When That Day Comes”.
You won’t get far in country music if you can’t write a good song and this album is duly full of good songs imbued with the expected blue collar sentimentality and radio friendly hooks even if the traditional values that are so much a part of the genre are less promoted than inferred. The difference here is that Ms. Rowden is something of a storyteller – much as Bobbie Gentry was back in the day – with “Ana Maria” and “Lucy’s Song” standing out as the tales that should be told. There are playful moments too even if “The Escape” and “Sticks and Stones” are more west coast than down south but are, nonetheless, fine examples of how to write catchy songs.
Ms. Rowden is more than your average country singer and a country mile beyond your average Americana performer. Her album “When That Day Come” has more than its fair share of songs that make sense of life in the modern day and you don’t even need a pickup truck to appreciate it. That works for me.