Houston Bernard Band: ‘Knockin’ Boots’ Album Review

The most talked about country music band in New England, and Country 102.5’s Band of Summer, the Houston Bernard Band, have shown their variety of musical talents in their much anticipated full length album, ‘Knockin’ Boots,’ released this past May. The album, with its mix of fun and silly songs like ‘Yoga Pants,’ to serious songs about domestic abuse in ‘Ready to Leave,’ will appeal to old country music fans and newly-converted fans as well.

1.) ‘Country Crowd’ – Written by Patrick Dalton and the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: An excellent choice for a first song on the album. Bernard is comparing the, not so good, musical interests of the selfie-crowd with those who just want to listen to some good loud country music. The song is a toe-tapping hip-slapping good old country song.
Favorite Lyrics: Turn that Miley Cyrus down tonight it’s Billy Ray…

2.) ‘Knockin’ Boots’ – Written by Patrick Dalton and the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: The album’s title track makes you want to grab a partner and head out to the dance floor. A fun upbeat song with a catchy tune you can’t help but singing along to.
Favorite Lyrics:  Knockin’ boots on the dance floor, two steppin’ Do-si-Do…       

3.) ‘Home is in your Arms’ – Written by the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: A song about the love of traveling with a band and getting caught up in the whirlwind of what that entails. But, when the music goes silent and you are alone with your thoughts you want to be home, with the one you love. The strong harmonies of Houston and the band in this song tunes the listener into the traveling performers feelings of loneliness and his struggle to want to follow his dreams.
Favorite Lyrics: But when I close my eyes and the night comes whispering in, all I can think about is you…

You can help the Houston Bernard Band by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign here.

 4.) ‘Ready to Leave’ – Written by the Houston Bernard Band and Patrick Dalton.
Impression: Bernard has outdone himself with this song. We applaud his strength in writing and singing a song of such magnitude. The song’s verses are slow and intense with just a piano, a drum and vocals but in the chorus the addition of the harmonies and guitar bring the song, and the story to a climax. Domestic abuse is still a taboo topic that has only been getting the awareness it deserves because of the recent headlines. ‘Ready to Leave’ has straight up lyrics that explain about protecting a friend you know is being hurt and letting her know that she just has to say the word and he will take her away from the fear and the pain, to a place where he will always keep her safe.
Favorite Lyrics: I’m ready to leave if you’re ready to leave him, Cause’ he don’t deserve you; and you don’t need him…

5.) ‘Loretta’s Last Shuffle’ – Written by Sam Crawford.
Impression: Regular performers at Loretta’s Last Call on Lansdowne Street in Boston, it is no wonder there is a titled a song on the album referring to the restaurant with live music. An all instrumental tune, it starts off with just an acoustic guitar with drums in the background keeping the beat. The song reaches a crescendo when an electric guitar and keyboards are added. ‘Loretta’s Last Shuffle’ has several different themes, from rock and roll to blues. It shows off the many musical talents of the members of the band with keyboard and bass guitar solos. With its changing beats, guitar riffs, and various tones, it is a nice addition to the album.

6.) ‘Shut up and Kiss Me’ – Written by Patrick Dalton and the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: The tables are turned in this song with a no-strings attached arrangement initiated by the girl. She doesn’t want to know anything about him, where he works, if he has a girlfriend or to even exchange names; she just wants to get down to business! ‘Shut up and Kiss Me’ is a reflection of today’s contemporary country sound.
Favorite Lyrics:  Let’s leave the names a mystery. Shut up and kiss me…

7.) ‘Yoga Pants’ – Written by the Houston Bernard Band, Mary Haller, and Patrick Dalton.
Impression: We were laughing out loud when we were listening to this song. It is the funniest song on the album. The song is exactly what you think it is about, girls in yoga pants. With its country twang and two step-in beat, he lets his girlfriend know he is perfectly happy if all she ever wears are yoga pants.
Favorite Lyrics:  I love the way your Cinnabuns do a little dance, honey when you wear them yoga pants…

8.) ‘It Ain’t Gonna’ Drink Itself’ – Written by the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: This song shows off Houston’s strong baritone voice. Mimicking the guy at the bar, the tempo starts slow, reflecting his mood. The song and the guy soon perk up as the tempo changes and the bartender gives him a free shot. You can actually picture the guy sitting up straighter on the bar stool when a pretty girl offers to get the next round.
Favorite Lyrics:  Here’s a free shot… maybe two, of the best stuff on the shelf…

9.) ‘I’d Rather Be Holding You’ – Written by the Houston Bernard Band.
Impression: The catalyst of all good county songs is a good story and that is what ‘I’d Rather Be Holding You’ is. This country ballad is about a guy stuck between his day job, that he needs to pay the bills, and his night job, playing music, which he really loves. He counts on his love, who waits for him at home to always keep him grounded.
Favorite Lyrics:  You know me, you show me how much you love me…

10.) ‘You’re All I Need’ (I Don’t Need Much) – Written by the Houston Bernard Band.                                                                                                      Impression: Consumed with the woman he is with, she keeps him guessing and on his toes.  He doesn’t know what she will do next and he is a little afraid of her but he kind of likes that and it doesn’t stop his need for her. With an upbeat rhythm, equipped with background keyboard playing and an impressive guitar solo, this tune is a mix of country and old rock-and-roll. The combination of steel guitar picking and bass guitar strumming, gives the song a unique sound.
Favorite Lyrics:  If I knew your guns were loaded I might have run away, but I like to ride your roller coaster, what can I say. 

The Houston Bernard Band is on the fast track to becoming a contender for great country music today. Their sound, a little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll, has attitude and depth. The song lyrics can make you laugh one minute and make you feel the next. There are still several dates this summer to catch a Houston Bernard Band show.

You can purchase ‘Knockin’ Boots’ and check out their concert dates here.

You can help the Houston Bernard Band by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign here.

Album review conducted by Lorraine Frigoletto contributing writer for NECM Follow me on  Twitter.

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