Luke Bryan Delivers More of the Same on ‘Here’s to the Farmer’
Luke Bryan is quite the prolific country musician. After dropping Kill The Lights in 2015, he fails to release a new full-length album in 2016. What better way to whet fans’ palettes than an EP? Bryan has become adept at releasing EPs. At this point, however, releasing another Spring Break oriented project would be a stretch for the 40-year old. Farm Tour…Here’s to the Farmer, hence, feels more age appropriate.
While Here’s to the Farmer suits Bryan’s current artistic status, the problem with the EP is it brings nothing new to the table. That isn’t to say Bryan doesn’t sound respectable or that the material isn’t solid. However, nothing on this five-song effort ultimately wows. Unsurprisingly, the projects two pre-release singles – “Here’s to the Farmer” and “Love Me in a Field” – are the best of the EP.
“I Do All My Dreamin’ There” opens energetically, featuring plenty of oomph. Bryan’s vocals are clear, and he nails the rhythmic melodic lines during the verses. The chorus is commonplace and highly countrified:
“I do my barber sinking / peanut butter sandwich eatin’ / watching the world go by / where I’ve done some beer crackin’ / crying, praying, laughin’…”
Title track “Here’s to the Farmer” is the crème de la crème of EP. The verses literally depict the life of a farmer:
“Talk about an uphill battle / 2000 acres of beans and cattle… / hydraulic fluid on his jeans / red dye diesel and ten rows between…”
The chorus sums things up soundly:
“Here’s to the farmer that plants the fields in the spring / that turn from green to that harvest honey…”
Ultimately, the record is a bit corny but respectable and admirable. Farmers are truly underappreciated.
“Love Me in a Field” features an excellent groove and nice use of riffs. Smartly, the record is up-tempo and energetic. The banjo goes strong…predictably. Expectedly, Bryan delivers vocally, and the chorus is a selling point.
Penultimate record “You Look Like Rain” is beautiful performed, slackening the pace. While respectable, the record isn’t particularly distinct or the second coming. Likewise, “Southern Gentleman” is cliché – “been there, done that.” Bryan seems to be in nostalgic mode, mentioning every aspect of southern living that comes to mind:
“Stand up when you walk in the door / spin you around an old heart pine floor / rock you baby on a wraparound porch / underneath a magnolia blossom.”
Ultimately, Farm Tour…Here’s to the Farmer is merely good at best. Bryan has released projects like this one many times over. He sounds great, but the material only goes so far and lacks transcendence. “Here’s to the Farmer” is easily the highlight, but still doesn’t come off as a track with much-staying power. Here’s to the Farmer is for fans only.
Luke Bryan • Farm Tour…Here’s to the Farmer (EP) • Capitol Nashville • Release: 9.23.16
Photo Credit: Capitol Nashville