After your debut album gets nominated for two Grammys, it’s easy to overthink the approach to and implications of your follow-up. Unless you’re throwback/laidback Texas country trio Midland. “It's got to be better than the first,” guitarist Jess Carson tells Apple Music's Brooke Reese. “Otherwise, why are we doing it? What we've been doing for the last two years is playing live. So we tried to translate that into a recording studio. We attempt to write songs that are going to be around for a long time and could fit into a time period from the past as well as they could in the future—just kind of ageless. And I think we accomplished that.” Don't just take his word for it: The 14 freewheeling songs on Let It Roll channel '70s country and SoCal soft rock like the Eagles, but never feel dated or contrived.
“There's definitely a fine line between being influenced by somebody and being derivative,” says bassist Cameron Duddy. “So it's only natural to imitate the things that you love. But the objective is to find your own voice. Your audience is keen, whether they know it or not, to authenticity.” Some of that authenticity owes to bucking longstanding Nashville tradition such as using session pros instead of their touring band in the studio; having a debut as successful as 2017's On the Rocks gave them the clout they needed. And that looseness and confidence are evident on moments like “Every Song's a Drinkin' Song” (“...when you're drinking,” goes the back half of the hook). “If there's one song that you're going to have a pretty good idea going into it what it is, it's that one,” says Carson. “It's not a curveball. That's a loud, raucous barroom singalong. It's like the mugs clanking together and the beer overflowing and stuff.”