Declaration of Independence by Colt Ford

There are about as many definitions for country music as there are artists who sing it. But one thing most people agree on is that country is lyrically driven by rural themes. So, if the driving rhythms and thumping bass of rap music ever captured your attention, but the topics left you puzzled, then I urge you to check out Colt Ford’s Declaration of Independence.

Raised in Georgia like many of his country music pals, he incorporates those dirt-road sensibilities into songs that emphasize the beat and message. That doesn’t mean melodies don’t matter, because they matter enough that Colt taps some of Nashville’s finest singers, including Jake Owen, to provide them. Jake joins him on the debut single, “Back,” which is the biographical ballad of Colt. 

He also enlists his Georgia brother Jason Aldean on “Drivin’ Around Song”—a slow-rolling musical memory of cruising small towns on the weekend. And “Way Too Early” with Darius Rucker is both sweet in message and soulful in delivery.

Most of the remainder of the album is packed full of tunes that will take your tailgate party up a notch or 10, including “Ain’t Out of the Woods Yet” with Montgomery Gentry that sports the hilariously visual lines, I got a neighbor / He’s a lawyer / His wife could be his daughter / He don’t know what to think of me / Because I sight my bow / On a Styrofoam doe / By the hole of the 18th green.

And if you want straight-up rap with country-boy logic, go directly to “Drinkin’ While Intoxicated” with LoCash Cowboys. Colt closes with “Angels and Demons” featuring Lamar Williams Junior. Melodically strung together with the classic hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” it’s Colt’s personal prayer at the end of the song that makes it so compelling and timely. 

The album was worth picking up just because Jonathan Singleton and Corey Smith sing on it, but after digging in, it’s packed full of country fun. Call Colt Ford’s Declaration of Independence a “guilty pleasure,” but there’s no need to feel one bit guilty.

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