Review: Rhett Walker Band – Here’s to the Ones (Deluxe)

Rhett Walker BandEven though the Rhett Walker Band made their debut in 2012, making some waves and drawing fans, it’s their latest release, Here’s to the Ones, that really feels like a breath of fresh air. The reason for that is that Walker and company come across as who they are, guys passionate about their craft yet unabashedly bold and honest in their songwriting, offering up slices of the good and bad of life. There’s a refreshing lack of pretention throughout the better part of the record, a lot of authentic lyrics, and a whole lot of southern fried rock and country served up hot.

The title track is a perfect example, encompassing the whole of the band’s overall mythos, giving honor to the average man in true country style. Walker’s voice is warm and rugged, the accompaniment a breezy, radio-ready country rocker while digs in with more swampy rock, big rocking guitars and thundering drums hammering home the message of true independence. The band turns their attention to matters of faith on the soulful ballad “Love Like Jesus” while letting a simple acoustic guitar lead “The Mystery” which finds Walker singing “I’m pretty sure that Jesus ain’t worried ‘bout tattoos and cigarettes/ Or if you wear a golden cross around your neck/ What about loving your neighbor and giving to the poor/ I just want to love like that and nothing more.”

“Amazed” finds joy in the simple things of life, for faith, family, and country, while “Broken Man” acknowledges the need of those blessings, embracing our failures while reaching out to grace over a solid country backbeat. “Lift Me Up” is an upbeat, rocking confession of need, some smooth organ fills and guitar riffs giving things a lift as “Better Part of Me” is a powerful song of love, honoring the commitment of marriage combined with real life. It’s the kind of song that it’d be great to hear more of from the CCM community and is something that Walker nails here.

“Dead Man” is a straight up rocker that recalls elements of Third Day at points with its big, bold guitars undergirded by a restless banjo line. “Adam’s Son” is another such track, the band letting it all hang out while Walker lets it rip vocally, singing of a need for deliverance as “The Other Side” tames things down with a resounding country gospel vibe that looks to the next life. “Welcome Home” echoes those sentiments, the modern country arrangement building to a powerful crescendo.

On Here’s to the Ones, the Rhett Walker Band delivers on the promise of greatness seen in their debut, capturing a solid southern rock vibe and melding it with authentic lyrics that celebrate the core principles of country: faith, family, and country. It just so happens that those are the same principles that the band holds dear as well and, put together, it’s a beautiful marriage.

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