Album Review

Luke Grimes – Luke Grimes

Separating this deeply personal work from his beloved tenure on Yellowstone is no easy feat, but across 13 tracks, Grimes begins to introduce an even more memorable character: himself.

Luke Grimes debut album artwork
March 7, 2024 4:22 pm GMT

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Luke Grimes - Luke Grimes

Label: Range Media / Mercury Nashville

Producer: Dave Cobb

Release Date: March 8, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. Burn

2. Playin’ On The Tracks

3. Hold On

4. Black Powder

5. Ghost Of Who We Were

6. Oh Ohio

7. God And A Girl

8. What Angels Do

9. No Horse To Ride

10. Wait For The Rain To Die Down

11. Ai't Dead Yet

12. South On 75

13. Worst Of Me

In the Western ballad ‘Wild Montana Skies,’ John Denver sings, “Oh Montana, give this child a home / Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own / Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes / Give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana skies.”

This ode to the splendor of Montana should be a precursory listen to Luke Grimes’ sweeping, self-titled debut, as it details his personal growth, finding love and peace in big sky country. Separating this deeply personal work from his beloved tenure on Yellowstone is no easy feat, but across 13 tracks, Grimes begins to introduce an even more memorable character: himself.

This successful introduction has much to do with production by Dave Cobbs, infusing aspects of Americana, rock and classic country that play to Grimes’ strengths. ‘Burn’ is a brooding acceptance of remaining in a bad relationship that finds Grimes singing in anguish as he fully embodies the relatable scenario. His storytelling ability scorches on the sinister ‘Playing on the Tracks’; its sparse opening allows total focus on detailing an unwillingness to change. It builds momentum line by line until the thundering chorus, nodding to Johnny Cash’s fierce influence on Grimes’ own artistic development.

Grimes can have fun, too, as on the sexy, swampy romp ‘Black Powder’ that will leave concertgoers blushing in the aisles. His range aptly stretches to light a fire under the vintage rock sound that fully suits him. Yet his most striking performance is on the tender, classic leaning ‘Ghost of Who We Were.’ “Are you happy? Do you miss me? Are you dancing with our memory?” he woefully sings, allowing his jagged voice to soften, practically holding back hushed tears.

While the album's first half pulsates with brokenhearted grit, the second half delves into more hopeful, steady arenas. This notable shift launches with the heartening ‘God and a Girl’, finding stability in a relationship and serving as a true-hearted testament to Grimes’ real-life love found in Montana. This quieter vulnerability continues on early fan-favorite ‘No Horse to Ride.’ When Grimes sings with steadfast confidence, “I’d be blowing in the wind if I didn’t have you”, it’s impossible not to believe him. However, it all comes to a head with ‘Worst of Me’, the album's closer penned by Hayes Carll and finished with Grimes in mind. Here, Grimes sings with such respect for the song and targeted yearning of his own experience that it’s evident Carll made the right decision in placing the song in Grimes’ capable hands.

For his debut, Grimes roams far and wide to painstakingly reveal his offscreen life with careful conviction. Each song is a testimony to his reverence for music and his willingness to share the newfound “fire in his heart” and “light in his eyes” without fear.

8/10

Luke Grimes’ 2024 self-titled project is available March 8 via Range Media / Mercury Nashville.

For more on Luke Grimes, see below:

Written by Soda Canter
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