Cowboy crooner Richard Lynch is back and unleashing his best collection of ballads and fiery swing tunes yet in Think I’ll Carry It On, a record that I can only describe as a twelve-track gateway drug to all things country. Think I’ll Carry It On takes the accessible melodies and brutally honest poetry of Mending Fences and adds in a touch of Americana-themed lyricism that makes it a lot earthier than his third record was stylistically, but make no mistakes about it – Lynch’s most recent album is anything but soft-serve country. If you ask me, I think that it’s an urbane, stately exhibition of his ongoing love affair with the very nature of American life.
The sway of the percussion is undeniably hypnotic in “The Old Feed Store,” “We’re American Proud” and “Another Honky Tonk Song,” and I don’t know that any review of Think I’ll Carry It On would be complete without addressing the LP’s devastatingly handsome drum patterns. Like the guitar parts, they’re given the VIP treatment from behind the soundboard, and sparkle with an effervescence that contributes to the narrative of songs like “They Don’t Play ‘Em Like That” without question. This master mix is crafted with immense physicality, but it never allows the music to take on an overly aggressive tone.
Lynch’s duets with Leona Williams (“Another Honky Tonk Song”) and Ronnie McDowell (“Love Tattoo”) are incredibly magnetizing and highlight his exceptionally gifted ability to collaborate with likeminded artists. The chemistry in this pair of songs is off the charts, but it never takes away from the monolithic quality of the solo material at all. Richard Lynch doesn’t have any difficulties sharing the mic duties with some mighty musicians in their own right on Think I’ll Carry It On, and considering the presence that he has in this record, it says a lot that he was even able to find singers who can hold their own in the studio with him.
Based on what I heard in his last two albums, I’ve concluded that Lynch’s arranging skills have vastly improved with the release of this latest set of songs. “Fast Times and Easy Money,” “One Breath Away,” “Pray on the Radio” and “Back in 1953” are really complex, multilayered pieces of music that flow with a gracefulness that I had once thought restricted to R&B tracks exclusively, and for all of the intricately constructed instrumental parts in each of these songs, we never get overwhelmed by the uncompromising strength of the sonic output here. He pays keen attention to the subtleties that many of his peers would just as soon ignore, and that by itself makes Think I’ll Carry It On a worthwhile listen for country music buffs everywhere.
It isn’t easy going against the Nashville model, but this album is an irresistibly enticing effort from Richard Lynch, who has made a lot of progress creatively in a very short amount of time. Lynch is always cultivating his sound to be more efficient and affective, and both music aficionados and casual pop fans alike will be able to appreciate the fruits of his labor in Think I’ll Carry It On. He’s outdone himself here, and I’m definitely not the only journalist who is saying as much.