Staff Picks

Zach Top - Cold Beer & Country Music

Fellow artists have touted Top as the future of country music, the one that can carry the traditional style into the modern era. Are they right? Can he do it? We're willing to place our bets.

Album - Zach Top - Cold Beer & Country Music
April 4, 2024 10:15 am GMT

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Zach Top - Cold Beer & Country Music

Label: Leo33

Producer: Carson Chamberlain

Release Date: April 5, 2024

Tracklisting:

  1. Sounds Like The Radio
  2. Cold Beer & Country Music
  3. Cowboys Like Me Do
  4. There’s The Sun
  5. Dirt Turns To Gold
  6. The Kinda Woman I Like
  7. Lonely For Long
  8. Bad Luck
  9. Use Me
  10. Ain’t That A Heartbreak
  11. I Never Lie
  12. Things To Do

The video for Zach Top’s catchy current single, ‘Sounds Like the Radio’, is a nostalgic throwback to the heydays of the late ‘90s.

In the back of a classic pick-up, Top and his band roll up to a rural radio station. The toughest of the lot grabs their amp wire and barges in, confining the disc jockey and taking full control of the board. Soon Top’s voice can be heard sizzling across the airwaves.

The visual is an apt representation of the song, but more than that, it foreshadows Top himself. His wishful fantasy of radio domination is destined to become reality thanks to his practically perfect debut, Cold Beer & Country Music. This meticulously curated collection marks the beginnings of a once in a generation country star who effortlessly bypasses imitation of the greats to create an authentic, neo-traditional sound all his own.

Produced by Carson Chamberlain, former band leader for the late Keith Whitley and the mastermind behind chart-toppers for Alan Jackson and George Strait, Cold Beer & Country Music finds Top soaring through an array of diverse and intriguing song selections. It’s material that triumphantly succeeds in representing his rural Washington upbringing and natural sentimentality, while propelling his exceptional artistic range front and center.

The title track continues the upbeat momentum of ‘Sounds Like the Radio’ by delivering a twangy mission statement on his love for the genre. The album could easily succeed with a slew of these upbeat radio earworms, yet Top is no one trick cowboy. He’s nuanced in his understanding that to play the long game, one must develop a multi-faceted connection with the listener.

The tender ‘Cowboys Like Me’ sees him promising to never lie to a lover, whereas the stirring ‘Dirt Turns to Gold’ is a sensitive coming of age tailored to Tops’ lived experiences. On the rollicking ‘The Kinda Woman I Like’, he celebrates the multitudes of a woman with infectious pedal steel, while  ‘Ain’t That a Heartbreak’ demonstrates his superb comedic timing, giving the best tear-in-my-beer standards a run for their money.

However, comedy is all but absent on the smoldering ‘Use Me’, a song that should come with a warning label. Top’s scorching vocals can cause fainting spells, hot flashes and sore fingers for pressing repeat. He delivers one of the best vocal performances from a contemporary male artist in the last decade, and one that should initiate award interest come nomination season later this year.

Through it all, Top remains authentically committed, giving life and depth to each story presented with a voice that’s familiar and comforting but, at times, positively unearthly. Fellow artists have touted Top as the future of country music, the one that can carry the traditional style into the modern era.

Are they right? Can he do it? We're willing to place our bets now on Zach Top and Cold Beer & Country Music.

9.5/10

Zach Top’s 2024 project, Cold Beer & Country Music, is available April 5 via Leo33.

For more on Zach Top, see below:

Written by Soda Canter
Content Sponsor
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