Country music made in Germany? There are more and more projects which feel to be very promising. In my point of view, though, the best country sound “Made in Germany” I heard since I deal with the genre here on Flyctory.com was Back on the Road by The Cumberland River Project. Just some weeks after that single release, the project is releasing their debut album – the self-titled record is going to be released on 6th March 2020. Some days before the release, here is my review.
The Cumberland River Project – About The Artist
Frank Renfordt is the mastermind behind the Cumberland River Project. Living in Hohenlimburg, a borough of the city of Hagen at the edge of the Ruhrgebiet region, he came in contact with country music due to his travels to the United States. He got in contact with the Nashville songwriter scene and organized himself in some songwriters associations. A couple of his songs received quite some reputation. Getting in contact with Dave Demay and the Song City Studios in Nashville made his songs “sound like real radio ready production”, as Renfordt states on the project’s website. The only recording which he published before the album (and the songs pre-leased before the album) is the Old Dominion cover below.
The Cumberland River Project – Track by Track
The thirteen songs of the album last 46 minutes. Frank is only the composer of the tracks, he is not singing by himself.
1. Back On The Road
Though I heard this track just a couple of weeks ago, it already feels like a good old friend. I write above that I feel that it is the best German country recording I listened to since my more professional work on the genre – so you already know that I like it!
2. Honey In My Head
Honey In My Head was also released already. Back On The Road feels quite outstanding to me (so far, before listening to the new songs), but it is definitely a really, really good track again.
3. Wild Horse Rider
She is a little less ballet than rodeo
She’s beautiful but it’s not like her to show
Grown up in the fields of Arkansas
raised by brother John and her grandma
Does not really sound like country made in Germany, does it? I love that sound of the track. It is a clear country music track with traditional, but not old-fashioned elements. Very rocking and powerful. The first track on the album I have not heard before – and I love it!
4. Revel In Love Devine
Wow, Revel In Love Devine is a surprise to me. It uses another voice, but it is more like a country music ballad, very unique song.
And when you tell me with your eyes
of all the hurt you feel inside
I fly with you up to the stars
and love away all the pain
until your tears
turn to Champagne
Great chorus as well:
We can’t stop the world from turning round
but you and I we have a way to slow it down
we let the demons play outside
let them burn in the morning light
take this moment in time
and revel in love divine
Amazing! By the way, I love that the project gives all the lyrics on their website. Makes it even better to listen to the songs.
5. Summer’s Gone
Beginning of March is not really the right time for a song called Summer’s Gone – but who cares about the correct season, if you finally just get what you want: a simply awesome track! Love it!
What is happening if a German is writing about his Hometown, using references like the Greyhound bus service or a Chevron Station? It still works! The track has a strong rhythm and is very much concentrated on the voice and the lyrics. I love that all six tracks so far are so different, so versatile – and they are all good ones yet!
7. Craving The Beach
I’m craving some beach days
and a southern breeze
swinging’ in a hammock under coconut trees
a wet ‘n wild banana boat ride
steel drums echoing through the night
might get my heart some relief
I’m craving the beach
A rather sad story of unfortunate love in a very summer-like sound, which make you dance and feel happy. Did I hear some reggae in the melody? Nice one! Definitely!
A slow and quiet track about a break-up, which did not make the storyteller really happy. I had to smile when I read the lyrics:
I’m a soulless husk with a smell of booze
a walking dead, it’s the bitter truth
baby I’m a zombie without you
Can you imagine that this is really a country song? 🙂
9. Like A Child
Like A Child might not be as strong as the massive tracks at the beginning of the album, but it is nice and melodic. I dislike to call it “weak”, but it feels a bit like that due to the series of really good songs before. Still a song I would add to my Playlists to support German country music – if there were not too many other (better) options on this album.
Better songs? Jackpot is definitely one of them! Even after nine songs, it still feels so amazing that this is a German artist’s production. If it would be performed by one of the big names, it definitely had potential to go really, really girl! Amazing!
11. Beyond Broken Dreams
Ooops, a girl voice! I could not find out who is in fact singing this track, but even in that way, The Cumberland River Project makes versatile sounds in any way. Good song,
12. Hey Girl
Hey Girl is a more rhythmic again. Very intense vocals in here – very radio-alike track as well.
13. Last Flight Home
The last track of the album. Starting a bit slow, but then another really powerful track. Wow!
The Cumberland River Project – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget to the album:
Cumberland River Project – The Spotlight Interview
About two months after the release of the album, I spoke with Frank about the success of his country music project:
The Cumberland River Project – My View
Of course, I acknowledge that a major part of the production is in fact from Nashville, but Frank Renfordt and his The Cumberland River Project is just flashing me. I cannot believe that quality and wide range of music in 13 tracks. His first long-play production is just a treat from the very first to the very last second, with extremely rare exceptions. The Cumberland River Project is close to the best albums I reviewed in 2019 – so I already place a bet that you will see this one in my “Best of 2020” postings! Must-buy – and one of the most deserved Top Pick!s of the website history so far.
German Artist Music Reviews on Flyctory.com
Flyctory.com Country Music Reviews
Here are reviews of all country music albums and EPs I reviewed earlier on the website: