The other day, I was conversing with another crit, and the subject wandered on to country rock and Charlie Daniels. I opined that there never was another band like Charlie's, or like Marshall Tucker for that matter, and the time was overdue. Well, along comes Todd Fritsch with Up Here in the Saddle, kicking off his CD with a full-blooded Charlie song, an anthemic ode to the working cowboy (Fritsch is a cattle rancher) and cowgirl, to the middle class, and to earthy delights. Let's face it, the trouble with so much country rock is that way too many groups sound indistinguishable, one the same as the other, but not Fritsch. This guy kicks ass—but tunefully, y'all, tunefully—rockin' his rear off, exercising superb discretion in choice of songs and lyrics.
To these ears, Fritsch is awfully close to that next step forward from good ol' Charlie—minus the fireball fiddle tunes and tussles with the devil on barroom floors. Fritsch's music is exquisitely crafted, his approach almost crooningly soulful, and very much radio friendly. You just want to hop in the car, hit the open road, turn the CD player up, shout, and seat boogie all the way to the rocky headlands. Along the way, of course, you're gonna have to stop at some rough roadside tavern, maybe two, grab a beer, and shed a tear in it, especially when cuts like It Don't Hurt to Ask pop up, but hell, Jeeter, that's all part of the game of life. Ya laugh a lot, work hard, love when ya can, and inherit a little regret now and again.
In fact, this CD returns Todd to the mainstream after a roping accident waylaid him for three years. By this feast of delights, you'd never know he was gone a minute, ready to get back to making hits, of which he's already had several. Sit down and let the title cut work its magic, 'n you'll see what I mean. It almost grabs the old Andy Williams / Tony Bennett days into Tejas pastures and purple skies, pretty damn unique. And dance? You won't sit down once you get up. But, whatever you decide to do—cut a rug, rope a steer, go on a road trip wilding—start with this cool-ass good bad boy.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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