Just every once in a while a CD comes across my piled-under desk that stands head and shoulders above the other dozen plus submissions we receive at GRITZ every week. A CD that shines from the moment you open the package. The cover art looks great, the band name is cool, and you plug the disc into the player, crank it up, and a smile spreads across your face in a heartbeat.
So was the case with Life is a Wheel, the latest album from Nashville based country-rock band Ragged Jack. From the opening notes of “Go Time,” I was hooked. The band blends influences from country and Southern Rock into a fresh sound that is a bit reminiscent of a Zac Brown Band or a Rascal Flatts.
Prior to receiving the album, I had heard Ragged Jack only twice. Once at our Jam for George, and then again when they submitted the amazing (and potential country hit) “Sangamon Mud” for our latest Stone Ground & Southern Compilation. The song has some really nice twin leads. So I had a strong feeling I was gonna love the album, and I was right.
The band is centered around a guy named Lyman Ellerman, a prolific songwriter, lead singer and guitar slinger. The guy is an amazing talent, but let’s not discount his comrades in arms, Jerry Turley, Joe Cook, Scott Mudstock, and Harry Lounsberry - all excellent musicians who really blend well together.
I love the blues of “Bail Out the Water” and the punchy drum beat that dominates the title track :Life is a Wheel.”
Ragged Jack is no one trick pony. Their “47 Pound Rooster” is a jump-blues rocker that sounds really good cranked to 11. The baddest cock in town. Yeah brothers, I get it.
“Oughta Be a Law” kicks off with the voice of a judge layin’ down the law to the song’s central character. A fun song about the trouble with love and lust.
Life is a Wheel is a twelve song romp that will appeal to country and Southern Rock fans alike. Good stuff, brothers and sisters. Take a ride on the wheel. You’ll be glad you did.
-Michael Buffalo Smith