A Cat in the Rain
When Turnpike Troubadours announced an indefinite hiatus in 2019, fans of the wildly popular country band went into mourning. The band’s 2017 album, A Long Way From Your Heart, had only intensified their rabid cult following, which first developed through a combination of relentless touring, word of mouth, and shamefully little attention from Nashville’s Music Row machine. The Oklahoma-bred band began touring again in 2022, but A Cat in the Rain marks lead singer Evan Felker and company’s first album since stepping away. The world has changed a lot since A Long Way From Your Heart dropped, but, fortunately, what makes the band one of country music’s finest hasn’t changed a bit. Still there is Felker’s aching voice, which brings raw emotion to his often confessional lyrics. So, too, is the band’s virtuosic chemistry, which translates especially well on this 10-track, Shooter Jennings-produced collection. Opener “Mean Old Sun” is fiddle-driven Southern rock at its best, like some brooding cross between Charlie Daniels and Old Crow Medicine Show. The gentle waltz of “Lucille” gives way to gorgeous harmonies at the track’s chorus, and also reveals itself to be more than your average breakup song when Felker sings, “I wonder who’s keeping the baby tonight.” Closer “Won’t You Give Me One More Chance” feels like a fitting message from a band that stepped out of the spotlight at the peak of its career, but with a band—and record—of this caliber, any listener will be well won over long before those last notes ring.