Michael Peterson – Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie

Michael Peterson – Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6KfTT2xF5E

With a refreshingly modern approach to some of the greatest hits in the American country songbook, Michael Peterson creates a uniquely enigmatic experience for music enthusiasts in his new record Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie, out everywhere and streaming online just in time for summer. Even the most casual of fans will find plenty of awesome twang to get into on this 12-song anthology, which features a relaxed tone and production style that makes all of these classics feel like fresh originals. I had a chance to listen to Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie today for the first time, and although I’m not the biggest country fan in the world, I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard.

Cover albums traditionally aren’t the first place that the discerning music fan looks to find imagination and ingenuity in a recording. The reality is that good covers are exceptionally difficult to record, especially when they’re of instantly recognizable, popular or iconic songs of the past. These songs are already associated with memories and distinctive emotional triggers for people, and hearing someone else delivering them can feel cheap and derivative when not performed in a “respectful” manner. Thankfully, Michael Peterson doesn’t pretend to reinvent the wheel on Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie, nor does he play into predictable song structures and note-for-note recreations of any of the tracks on the album. Instead, he presents us some of his (and our) very favorite country anthems, from Johnny Cash’s “Boy Named Sue” to Johnny Lee’s Urban Cowboy classic “Lookin’ for Love,” with his own uniquely stylish and endearing delivery that makes every song sound as inspired as the first time you heard them. To be fair, Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie isn’t entirely a cover album. It also features a few of the Grammy-nominated country star’s greatest hits in the title track, “Too Good to Be True,” “From Here to Eternity,” and the haunting “When the Bartender Cries,” which perhaps has never sounded as rich and textured as it does on this CD. There’s an ethereal, almost angelic bend to the timber in Peterson’s vocal throughout the entire album, but it’s probably on his own songs that he shines the brightest. The lone new song on the record, “Borderline,” is a fantastic, rousing pop-crossover track that could easily be a standalone single in its own right.

Unlike a lot of his contemporaries in Nashville, Michael Peterson’s style of play is markedly cerebral, and Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie may be the perfect means of appreciating how much depth he’s really got as a performer. A good example; when we listen to him blaze through his own version of Garth Brooks’ signature “Friends in Low Places,” there’s an undeniable, distinctly different vibe then we get from the 1990 original found on No Fences. Instead of reproducing a dirge-driven revenge anthem, Peterson tweaks the arrangement to make “Friends” feel like a reflective power ballad that dwells more in the light than in the shade. For someone over two decades into his recording career, an album like Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie offers us a glimpse of how much skill Michael Peterson still possesses as a relevant artist and entertainer. I highly recommend that both new and longtime fans of the singer/songwriter pick up a copy of this album today, they definitely will not be disappointed.

AL MUSIC: https://www.allmusic.com/album/drink-swear-steal-lie-mw0000594496

Michael Rand

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