Tale Of Two Towns

Tale Of Two Towns

Brandon Ratcliff opens his ambitious double album with a bit of history, sampling an old news clip decrying the “wreckage [that] was once the thriving little town of Cotton Valley, Louisiana.” Ratcliff is a native of the little town in question (whose population is just over 700), and the intro sets up his contradictory feelings about the place that raised him. On the track’s chorus, he expresses a sentiment familiar to many: “Thank god I grew up there, thank god I got out.” There’s more to Ratcliff’s background than loving and leaving a small town, though, as the singer-songwriter is also the son of Suzanne Cox, mandolin player for the renowned bluegrass band The Cox Family. While Ratcliff’s music hews more closely to that of country contemporaries like Sam Williams or pop-rock legacy acts like John Mayer, his familial bluegrass heritage finds its way into his music in subtle ways, particularly in the acoustic instrumentation that anchors even some of the album’s poppier moments, like the hopeful, melodic “Best Thing That Never Happened.” Some of the LP’s more danceable tunes are also some of its finer, like the laidback groove of “Really Ready” and the gentle funk of “Someone Who Believes in You.” Ratcliff also knows his way around a ballad (“Sad Song,” “Where I’m Coming From”), showing himself to be one of country’s more versatile up-and-comers.

Disc 1

Disc 2

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