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February 2024
Vol. 23, No. 5
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CD Reviews

NICK GAMER: Suburban Cowboy

by Wayne RikerDecember 2023

Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter Nick Gamer has released his debut album, Suburban Cowboy, comprised of 12 original tracks leaning toward Americana and country genres, supported primarily by the dulcet tones of the pedal steel guitar.

The opening track, “Pale Horse,” sets the “cry in your Beer” vibe with the lyric, “been roaming the streets with no place to go,” akin to the two-steppin’ “Midnight Angel.” “No higher power can provide the comfort that I seek.”

There are lovely background vocal harmonies on the Tom Petty-style rocker “Tennessee” and also on “Sedona,” a tune written while driving through the Arizona desert. “It’s midnight at a truck stop…and my eyes are bloodshot.”

The title track, “Ballad of the Suburban Cowboy,” is a highlight that’s set against a bright ¾ time waltz. “Fading fast, the good times don’t last,” in stark contrast to the eerie 6/8 time ballad “Cenote Saloon,” which features a haunting musical interplay between the pedal steel and electric guitars, not to be outdone by the haunting musical backdrop of “Any Neon Sign.” “Time keeps passing like sand through my hands.”

The ballads “Fever Valley Pitch” and “Riverbed” are musically rich arrangements with a slick pop edge that adds to the overall eclectic musical vibe of the project. The album concludes with “Rare Italian Breed,” a tender romantic ballad that puts a nice finishing touch to an entertaining listen. “She’s a rare Italian breed, something you don’t see often.”

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