OCTOBER ROAD is the second release for singer-songwriter John Hager. Soulful country rock from a writer who has song credits with Carl Story, Don McHan and Iowa Gospel favorite Denise Shipler. John explores his own musical style in ballads, rockers and anthems of country rock.
The 2001 film "Best Man in Grass Creek" contains "Here You Are Again" from this CD.
Reviews & Comments
"a good enjoyable CD ... super vocals and harmonies with very good traditional country music all put over with an easy listening style .. my own favorites - You Baby You, Love of My Girl and Kitchen Cajun Family Band. this should be a popular release and have wide appeal" - Graham Hassall - Radio Nightingale Notts England -
"October Road" by Armando Canales The Critical Review
This album opens with "If You're Gonna Rock" with Hager sounding a bit like Elvis. Hager has great smooth vocals rather unusual for a country singer. This is a fine tune. Then on "You Baby You" he delivers a sleek, smooth, nuanced and classy tune. Excellent! "Big Tom" reminds me somehow of Tom T. Hall or even better JIMMY DEAN. Hager tells a story, in a talk-sing style. This kind of storytelling is the closest talking that approximates a kind of 'rap.'
Next on "Last Time With You" we get a big country sound with all the effects. We have some fine talent on this CD.
Bruce Watkins is on electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle, and banjo. [not all necessarily on this cut!] The famous Hargus "Pig" Robbins plays piano and Michael Johnson is on steel & pedal-bro;Jimmy Carter on bass, Forrest Shannon on drums and Cindy Shelton does a fine job of backing vocals. Hager sings and plays acoustic guitar. Anyway this is a good number.
On "Doggone Your Heart" Hager delivers what may be the makings of a classic. This song is clever, funny, and sad. Great musicality.
"Love of My Girl" is a song, a ballad that has Hager shining vocally. Here he sounds like another popular country star. This man has quite a voice, a wide range and such flexibility, not to mention smoothness. I loved this song (and this album) and I am not that much of a country
fan. "Here You Are Again" has a great country sense to it. The music reminds of classic country, of those great honest-to-the-heart songs we rarely hear nowadays. The steel guitar is beautiful and the overall effect is somewhat haunting. On this number Hager sounds like those giants of yesterday vocally.
A fun number is "Kitchen Cajun Family Band." The music has that backwoods feel to it. That fiddle work is a highlight.
A super tune. Next on "Front Porch Love" which is a short sensitive song, Hager hits it right on the nose, both musically and lyrically. He talks about old-fashioned front porch love, that ended up in long lasting stable marriages that were full of love. What a song! This stuff is excellent.
The next track is a sad song, "Blue In Bowling Green." The music is more laid back and the lyrics are honest, clever, and creative. This album closes with "American Kids" which decries the violence, troubles, and problems of our kids. Great lyrics and thoughts.
Hager is a perceptive writer and an amazing singer. OCTOBER ROAD is a great album. Mainly straight country, done in his smooth vocal manner, supported by fine musicians makes up one of the best country albums I have ever heard. A highly recommended treat.