Andy Budd | Ragtop Monterey

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Ragtop Monterey

by Andy Budd

Andy is firing on all cylinders on his third studio album, Ragtop Monterey. Great songs and great musicianship abound on this CD. A real taste of that Nashville Sound that's been missing from music row lately.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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1. Old Freight
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3:11 album only
2. If You Did That Today
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3:29 album only
3. Don't Bother Calling
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3:01 album only
4. Ragtop Monterey
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2:56 album only
5. Time Won't Do It
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3:09 album only
6. Bread Upon the Waters
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3:29 album only
7. He's Still Missing Her
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3:28 album only
8. Ol' Work Truck
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4:15 album only
9. Baa Baa Black Sheep
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2:53 album only
10. Godspeed
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3:18 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Warrenton, Virginia’s Andy Budd may be an artist of some obscurity but he shouldn’t be. Andy is firing on all cylinders on his third studio album, Ragtop Monterey. Great songs and great musicianship abound on this CD. There are no blistering or moaning solos, and this lets the authenticity of the lyrics shine through. Andy may not be a professionally trained vocalist but his vocals fit perfectly with the folk driven style of Americana that he writes. Budd exhibits a maturity and a depth of style far beyond most of what you hear in the Alt. Country/Americana genre today. Listeners will also like Andy’s sense of playfulness. While he is a serious songwriter, he doesn't take himself too seriously.
Veteran Producer Chip Hardy (Waylon Jennings, Reba McIntyre, George Strait) gives us a real taste of that Nashville Sound, the likes of which hasn't come off of Music Row in decades. Chip’s experience really shines through in the mix and thoughtful arrangements. Ragtop Monterey was recorded at Nashville’s Studio 515 where Chip put together a wonderful assemblage of some of Nashville’s best studio and touring players backing Andy, including Smith Curry on dobro, banjo, mandolin ,and steel. Coleman Murphy is spectacular on electric guitar. Andy Most and Mike Waldren provide the exceptional acoustic guitar work. Mike Kelly provides subtle harmonies and legendary Hank Singer provides a haunting fiddle.
From the opening burst of bluegrass style guitar picking and the raspy vocals on the new-grass “Old Freight” and throughout this disc, Andy Budd has crafted an incredible blueprint for a near-flawless roots record. Standout tracks include the lively title track “Ragtop Monterey”, the mournful "Godspeed”, the nostalgic & funny “If You Did That Today” " and the hysterical (although not PC) “He’s Still Missing Her (but his aim is getting better)” This is a CD that keeps growing on you with each listen. Fans of Hayes Carl, Early Jimmy Buffett, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Todd Snider would probably enjoy this CD. Andy Budd’s “Ragtop Monterey” is a keeper for sure.


Reviews


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John Budd

Ragtop Monterey: Not Just a Beautiful Convertible Anymore!
Ragtop Monterey: Not Just a Beautiful Convertible Anymore!

Just when I start to think Andy’s songs can’t get any better than the last one I listened to, he seems to drop out of sight for a while-- as in stops communicating with everyone, including me, his brother--and that’s when I sense some new songs are being born.
Suddenly he resurfaces; an Email arrives in my inbox and soon after a copy of his new CD lands in my mailbox. After playing the new CD through three or four times—some songs over and over just to catch the exact wording of a few lyrics or a guitar part that grabbed my attention—I walk away humming his melodies, ruminating over his lyrics, smiling as it hits me that his new Ragtop Monterey CD is his best work ever and that he has ratcheted up his bar of achievement to a whole new level—again!
My very next move is to my guitar stand where I snatch up my Gibson J-45, hit the play button, crank up the volume and start playing along, trying to learn a couple of my favorite songs on the album. No delusions, here; I’m no “Jukebox Hero” wannabe, anymore. I know I will never play like any of the incredible studio musicians he chose to help bring his music to life on this CD, but I have so much fun playing along and harmonizing with my brother. And if this makes me feel closer to him at the moment than our actual 2500 miles, then I just keep playing and singing until my fingers burn and my voice grows horse.
Okay, so as his brother I am expected to be just a little biased in Andy’s favor, but being his brother doesn’t mean I give up my ability to choose the kind of music I prefer to listen to. I have an opinion when it comes to any song I listen to--what sounds bad, boring, just okay, good and the occasional great-to-terrific. A song—it’s melody, its lyrics, its arrangement, its musical orchestration, its recording and reproduction quality—either catches the listener’s attention immediately, bringing him or her back to listen again and again or it doesn’t.
Every song on Ragtop Monterey firmly grabbed my attention, won’t let go and I can’t get the tunes out of my head for hours after playing it. Andy’s lyrics are as smooth and silky as they are visual. The acoustic guitar and steel guitar are clean and crisp and give some songs that folksy, bluegrass, foot-stompin’ feel, while the fiddle player succeeds in teasing your inner ear with notes that yank on your heartstrings and compel you to play the song again so you can focus only on that instrument.
I’ve got a copy of Ragtop Monterey in my car and the entire album—along with Andy’s previous albums--has been downloaded onto my computer so I can stream a complete session of Andy’s music throughout my house with the right-click of my mouse. I have purchased several copies of Ragtop Monterey and have given them to my closest friends as gifts. So far all my friends tell me they’re rating Andy’s latest album with two thumbs-up and plan to purchase some copies to give to their friends, as well.
I’m playing it Andy, on my way to and from work each day, and I’m practicing so I’ll be ready to jam with you when you come for a visit---soon, I hope. Keep writing; keep playing. I can’t get enough of your music.

John Budd--Mesquite, NV

Andrea Guy

Ragtop Monterey
Artist:  Andy Budd
Album:  Ragtop Monterey
Review by Andrea Guy
 
 
Andy Budd is a name most people won’t recognize, but after listening to Ragtop Monterey you’ll be wondering why that is the case.  Andy’s music fits somewhere in the country/folk/Americana area. Many of the songs are laced with humor, but every song isn’t about laughs and feeling good. Andy has a few serious numbers on Ragtop Monterey to give the album balance.
 
Andy’s voice is an acquired taste. It’s almost like Bob Dylan with a twang, and like with Dylan, it’s the lyrics that pull you in.  Budd has something to say, be it life, death or just about anything in between. It is impossible not to chuckle when listening to “He’s Still Missing Her.” This song could get lumped into the clichéd “somebody done somebody wrong” song, but one listen to the chorus and all the other songs with a similar theme just disappear.  “He’s still missing her, but his aim’s getting better. He’s gonna take her out, but it won’t be for dinner. She’ll be swimming with the fishes in her new cement shoes. He says he ain’t afraid of prison, he’s got nothing left to lose.”  Those lyrics speak volumes about a man that has had enough from his woman. That’s not the only song that shows off Andy’s great wit when it comes to songwriting. “If You Did That Today” is a song about how things have changed over the years, in a humorous vein best illustrated by the line “If you’re not at every soccer game, there will be hell to pay. Yeah, you’d probably go to jail, if you did that today.”
 
Songs like this will have people thinking of Jimmy Buffett’s early material. They are funny and have a touch of that down home feel that can be attributed to 70s rock and country.  Andy Budd is spot on with his lyrical observations of life. The songs on Ragtop Monterey are about blue collar America. They speak to the men and women that are out there leading the not so glamorous lives.  “Ol Work Truck” is one of the songs that is full of imagery. It is easy to see the old man who has to part with a vehicle that is really part of his life. This song has the stamp of pure country music all over it.
 
Family plays a part in many of the lyrics on Ragtop Monterey. “Ba Ba Black Sheep” is a song about a brother and sister that didn’t quite turn out the way mom and dad wanted them to.  This one might just be a little autobiographical too. “Bread Upon The Water” is a song about a mother giving advice to her son on his leaving home.  The title track is another song that paints a picture of a rather unique family. “Ragtop Monterey” is a catchy tune about a grandma’s flashy 59 Mercury.  These songs make you want to get to know the family Andy is singing about, because they have to be fun people.
 
No matter the subject matter, Andy seems to have the right words. His songs speak to the heart, but none more so than the album’s closing track “Godspeed.”  It would be difficult to find a song that was quite as fitting a tribute to a friend that has passed on.  This song will bring tears to even the hardest individual.
 
Andy Budd fits into the country genre more than many of the major players. His songs will be a delight to the people that want more “traditional” sounding country. There’s no sign of pop creeping into Andy’s songs, and that’s what makes them stand out.  Ragtop Monterey is country music, but more than that, it is good country music.
 
 
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Andrew Greenhalgh

Ragtop Monterey
Artist: Andy Budd
Album: Ragtop Monterey
Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh
 
 
 
For far too many years there has been a shortage of good, old fashioned, homespun Americana humor and hubris within the music scene.  Sure, country music has tossed it’s share of fun anecdotes via artists like Brad Paisley and Toby Keith but the wit and witticism of Grandpa Jones and the forefathers seems long left in the dust.  Thankfully, the past few years have seen a resurgence of artists like Antsy McClain and Paul Thorn who are passionate enough and, yes, quirky enough to bring down home warmth and tongue-in-cheek laughter back to the airwaves.  With the release his latest album, Ragtop Monterey, it’s safe to add Virginia’s Andy Budd to that growing list.
 
Budd is the real deal, although technically not even a professional artist.  He’s a guy that’s “worked in fast food joints, bussed tables at restaurants, worked as a bartender, cab driver, and even that old clichéd job where he toiled as a ditch digger” until finally landing a gig at a car lot that would be his ticket out of mediocrity.  He moved up through the organization, eventually purchasing a Chevrolet dealership and several used car lots.  And it was after winning a new guitar in a promotional contest at the dealership that his musical dreams, long having lain dormant, were reignited.
 
And listeners have every right to be thankful that they were.  Ragtop Monterey is a solid collection of ten quick songs, each one in and out and, like a good southern gentleman, careful to not overstay its welcome.  Yet each, in it’s time allotted, leaves much room for thought, pondering, and a keen desire to hear it again.
 
Budd scored a coup with producer Chip Hardy (Waylon Jennings, Reba, George Strait), whose production simply allows Budd’s songs to speak.  And while this album is chock full of great playing and players with guys like Smith Curry (Steel guitar, Dobro, Mandolin, Banjo), Coleman Murphy (Electric guitar), and the great Hank Singer (Fiddle) among others, it’s the song songwriting skills of Budd and his heartfelt delivery that makes these songs truly sing.  
 
“Old Freight” gives a rousing start to the album with the wishful thought of leaving all and heading south to “sing my songs for tips and beer”.  “If You Did That Today” is a clear album highlight with it’s recollection of days gone past (“Momma smoked her Viceroys while in the family way/Drank whiskey thru five pregnancies and we turned out OK”) and it’s contrast with the PC of today (“They’d throw your ass in jail if you did that today/They’d send out social services and take your kids away/The world we live in now ain’t like back in the day”).
 
Things slow down a bit with the lovelorn heartbreak of “Don’t Bother Callin’” and the subtle tearjerker “Godspeed”.  Story songs “Ol’ Work Truck” and blues-tainted “Baa Baa Black Sheep” provide some interesting filler as the title track brings things to a mid-tempo shuffle. “Time Won’t Do It” offers up a lover’s lament as “Bread Upon the Waters” places things back into perspective with the lyrical question, “There’s givers and there’s takers son/Which one will you be?”
 
The most fun this album delivers is found in the quirkiness of “He’s Still Missing Her” with a full-on, tongue-in cheek tale of a friend fallen under the spell of love.  Of course, things take a turn for the worse as Budd sings: “He’s still missing her/But his aim is getting better/He’s gonna take her out/But it won’t be for dinner/She’ll be swimmin’ with the fishes/In her new cement shoes/He says he ain’t afraid of prison/He’s got nothing left to lose.”
 
Budd’s online biography says it best: “Andy Budd may be an artist of some obscurity but he shouldn’t be”. If you’re a fan of soulful sounds and lyrics with a smile in their eye, you can’t go wrong with Andy Budd and this gem of an album, Ragtop Monterey.
 
 
 
Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Dan MacIntosh

Ragtop Monterey
Artist: Andy Budd
Album: Ragtop Monterey
Review by Dan MacIntosh
 
 
Maybe people don’t notice CD packaging much anymore. That’s because folks download so much of their new music. But those that download Andy Budd’s new Ragtop Monterey disc will miss out on some mighty nice artwork and booklet design. There are plenty of photos of the Mercury vehicle where this collection gets its name. And each page with a song title on it has the tune listed the way it might look in an old jukebox. It’s just all so classy.
 
Budd wrote these songs and recorded them at Studio 515 in Nashville, TN. The album is traditional country music, with just a touch of bluegrass. All the songs are sung well, with Budd sounding a lot like Billy Joe Shaver.  Billy Joe saturates his vocals with a sense of amassed wisdom, and one can also hear a bit of that knowledge in the way Budd sings his songs.
 
The funniest song in this collection is called “If You Did That Today.”  It’s a fun crack at political correctness gone crazy. “Momma smoked her Viceroys while in the family way,” Budd sings proudly, “Drank whiskey thru five pregnancies and we turned out OK.” Health nuts might look back at such seemingly surprising success stories and most likely call them medical miracles. “They’d throw your ass in jail if you did that today.” Indeed, they wouldn’t let momma smoke and drink like that today, that’s for sure.
 
Budd includes a written dedication in the booklet that reads: “This album made possible by the staff and customers of Country Chevrolet in Warrenton, VA. Also, 100% of artist proceeds from the sale of this album benefit Habitat For Humanity and Boys & Girls Club, Fauquier County, VA.” And Budd’s love of motor vehicles runs through this CD. The title track, “Ragtop Monterey” is an upbeat, piano-driven country ode to an old favorite car model. Another one, “Ol’ Work Truck,” is also a song dedicated to a steady work vehicle. In the song “Baa Baa Black Sheep ” Budd even mentions selling cars for a living.  However, the song “Baa Baa Black Sheep” is about more than just selling cars. Budd begins it by singing, “My momma raised five children and she was proud of three.”  One of these siblings is his sister Jean, who “fell for the drummer in a rock-n-roll band,” and the other is Budd, who plays guitar and sells cars. This whole premise is built upon how one views a family black sheep. Apparently, mommas love teachers, business people and journalists more than musician’s wives and guitar pickers. But there are also plenty of evil business folks, ineffective teachers and wrong-headed journalists. So sheep color is all in the eye of the beholder, in the end.
 
Budd begins and ends his CD with songs about escape. The banjo-augmented “Old Freight” imagines getting away from the cold weather, to live in a warmer climate. “Godspeed” is of a much more permanent nature, as it salutes a friend that’s passed on.
 
Chip Hardy produced this CD, and has given it a good, clean sound. This is traditional country music, with plenty of steel guitar, dobro, mandolin and banjo. It’s relatively acoustic, but not so much so that it sounds like old time music. Yet it’s traditional enough that it won’t remind you of the big, shiny pop production that ruins so much supposedly country music in Nashville.
It’s sometimes difficult to imagine Andy Budd as a car salesman. He just comes off far too honest and sincere to ever sell anybody an unnecessary extended warranty. But then again, maybe he’s doing a sales job on us all with this recording. And if so, we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. So, to paraphrase Neil Young, long may you run, Andy Budd!
 
   
Review by Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)

Andrew Greenhalgh

Ragtop Monterey
"Ragtop Monterey is a solid collection of ten quick songs, each one in and out and, like a good southern gentleman, careful not to overstay its welcome. Yet each, in it's time allotted, leaves much room for for thought, pondering, and a keen desire to hear it again" Andrew Greenhalgh - music reviews. 5 Stars ...(out of 5)

Scott Homewood

Ragtop Monterey
Budd has managed to do what few have: make one of the best Americana albums of the past 15 years. That he is a relative unknown makes his accomplishment even more exciting" 4 stars (out of 5)