Pickin’ and grinnin’. That’s the difference. While some artists are on the beaten path, Todd Adelman & The Country Mile are off to the side, pickin’ and grinnin’. Not like Buck and Roy and those guys in the corn patch (Hey, Granpa! What’s fer dinner?). Not a bit. More like The Dillards. More like Cowboy. That’s it! Cowboy! You know. Those Florida boys who signed with Capricorn Records in the early days? Never heard of them? Then you ain’t been listenin’. Cowboy put out an album back in ’70 titled Reach For the Sky which outhooked Dr. Hook with such classics as “Pick Your Nose” and “Josephine Beyond Compare” which knocked a few of us on our asses, the hick factor combining with rock to the degree of making us fans for a short time if not for all-time. Damn good album, that, and followed by the much smoother and less hick 5’ll Getcha Ten which by all rights should have made Cowboy more than a side to choose in the Cowboys and Indians wars of childhood. There was humor in that first album— and pickin’ and, yes, grinnin’. Not many bands did it back then. Nor today. Except a few like Todd Adelman & The Country Mile.
You only have to scan the song titles to know what these guys are about. Titles like “Tired of Being Tired” (the chorus goes “I’m tired of bein’ tired of bein’ tired of bein’ tired”) and “All That’s Left Is the Blues” and my personal favorite, “Wild Women, Whiskey and Weed.” Songs to spit in your spittoon by. Sung by guys in worn jeans with straw cowboy hats.
They aren’t all hick, though. They pick as well as they grin, playing honky tonk, country and, yes, rock. And they can sing. Surely Adelman is no Josh Groban or Frank Sinatra (thank the gods) but he sure as hell is Todd Adelman and his inflections are perfect for each song, sometimes backwoods and sometimes citified country, and sometimes just straight-ahead singin’.
Which is what impresses me most about Time Will Tell. They aren’t out to bowl you over. They are just musicians doing what musicians do— playing— and they play more than well enough to make their mark. They have to to have made me think Cowboy because Reach For the Sky was more than just an album to me, I loved and love it so much. The more I hear Time Will Tell, the more I like it too. I might even love it some day. Time will tell how much. So far, so good.