For the forefathers of Country Music, getting their music to fans meant long road trips usually packed in some old sedan along with gear from one dive bar to the next honky tonk. Point is… it was a labor of love that often involved sacrifice. And though afforded many more creature comforts, the story of Rick Hornyak evokes that imagery of Country’s torchbearers.
Rick seemingly had everything: the job, the house, family and friends. But he was also burdened with a head full of songs. So one day, he sold it all, packed his car with his guitars and his dog and set out on the road. His car finally stopped for good in Austin and with the release of his 11-track, Marigold, the trip has come full circle.
The album is Folk/Americana meets classic Country instrumentation over heartfelt lyrical matter. Opening to the mid tempo “So Many Times Before” the ethos of the album is offered up immediately. Weepy backing lap/pedal steel at the undercurrent, slight backing percussion and Rick’s slight gruff/whispered vocal delivery. In fact, if Jakob Dylan dealt solely in Country Music, this is what it would sound a lot like. Following is another mid tempo toe-tapper in “See This Through.” Near spoken word vocal delivery floats atop vocal bolstering steel and pluck electric work. The anecdotal, storyteller nature of the track sits at the foreground through the verses with backing vocal accompaniment at the chorus. “Cigarettes” picks up the tempo with up-tempo, rat-a-tat snare, bent note steel and acoustic picking at the fills. “Homesick Blues” brings the bent note Blues electric to the backing steel and acoustic guitar fold with more of Rick channeling Dylan through the vocal delivery. “Don’t Hide Away” is a honky stomp of a track with driving electric through the verse work and fills in tandem with acoustic picking. The whine of the slide/lap/pedal lends a true Honky Tonk feel to this one. “Door To Your Heart” lends a couple’s barn dance feel to the album. The instrumentation lends the imagery of a backing band behind sweethearts bound in Country-style slow dance. Again, there isn’t much variance in the instrumentation, but the selected lineup is Rick playing to the strengths of his backing band (Cindy Cashdollar [Bob Dylan, Van Morrison] on lap steel and Lloyd Maines (Dixie Chicks) on pedal). Finally, “Far From Home” shows the versatility of the musicality in what could easily be mistaken for a long lost Dire Straits tune.
There is no telling whether Rick’s adventure is paying dividends yet, but if he made the trip based solely on his love of the music; it shines through in these 11-tracks. Marigold is bound to attract attention, even in a music-laden town the likes of Austin. The production is professional, the instrumentation is appropriate for the tracks and the musicality is tight. And the “delving slightly into Country, but not all the way” lends originality to the album. Just fun, honest and good.
Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org