The story goes that Midland took its name from a Dwight Yoakam song (“Fair to Midland”), and the trio does its best Yoakam approximation with “Mr. Lonely,” a handclapping, dancefloor, irresistible invitation of a song. It’s impossible not to simply love this song. When Mark Wystrach sings, “I ain’t Mr. Right/I’m Mr. Right Now,” it’s clear we’re all in for a good time. Midland’s new album may not be as constantly good as the previous On the Rocks, but it’s close to that high bar and contains a whole lot of country music goodness. Therefore, it’s oh so worth rolling with Midland.
This trio knows its country music history, and so includes a trucking song with “Fourteen Gears” and a drinking song with “Every Song’s a Drinking Song,” which includes the truism that all songs are drinking songs when you’re drinking. One called “21st Century Honky Tonk American Band” features a guitar/organ intro rocking enough to be worthy of Led Zeppelin. It sounds like the music Gram Parsons might have been creating, had he lived on into the 21st century.
Another country song tradition addressed with the album is cheating – hit upon twice. One called “Cheatin’ Songs,” is like a sister song to Alan Jackson’s “She Just Started Cheatin’ Songs,” while “Cheatin’ By The Rules” addresses this popular song subject with endorphin-producing tinkling piano and Tex-Mex accordion.
Midland pushes all the right buttons with Let It Roll, both musically and lyrically. Thank your lucky stars a group this good is so cool and radio friendly. Midland is exactly what radio needs right now.