“Prairie metropolis” is an oxymoron that has some interesting implications on the culture that rises forth from it. Many people in my life have rural roots only one or two generations away, yet have always had a personal computer to show them wonders of the world. I’ve driven a tractor. My babysitter was muslim and gave me a bindi to wear, but I had to look on the internet for it’s proper name. Culture is not a Ford vs. Chevy dichotomy.
“Scraps” from A Rancher’s Son sonically sits very much in that acknowledged sonic space. With banjo, fiddle and bluesy guitar providing a rural framework the spoken vocals of Alexander Shenton can be a bit surprising. This is a far cry from appropriated”hick-hop” or loser experimentation. This might sound like a recipe for bro country but it really approaches something closer to Buck 65 without reaching his hip-hop heights.
Shelton made a major life change to get to this album, from touring with alt-rockers Bastard Poetry to moving home to Pincher Creek and working in carpentry and concrete. The story is weaved into the album both lyrically and sonically by including percussive door slams or doors locking. Some could look at his move and see it as a “safe” choice, but I feel the opposite. The same goes for this album too.
You can catch “A Rancher’s Son” at The Lancaster in Regina, September 17th, 2016.
– Jon Neher