Rick Monroe is no newcomer to the music scene. He has shared the stage with such acts as Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Aaron Lewis, Eli Young Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Dwight Yoakam, Montgomery Gentry, Patty Loveless, Trick Pony, Emerson Drive, Pat Green, Randy Houser, Josh Thompson and more. He has a tour schedule that would exhaust most of his contemporaries, traveling 100,000+ miles in 2016. He’s performed in every state in the USA except Oregon (huh? Get with it, Oregon!) and been on stage in at least seventeen countries, even entertaining former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
So, you could justifiably describe Monroe as something of a musical gypsy: have guitar, will travel. Now Monroe presents us with a new 6-song EP appropriately titled GYPSY SOUL. The title track is a rousing anthem to the nomadic life of a free spirit. “I hear that voice inside, I’m livin’ free, child, til the day I die / I’ve got a gypsy soul…” The track is a powerful, uptempo earworm that grabs hold and won’t let go.
Each cut on this album (all written or co-written by Monroe) hangs on that same kind of hook that pulls the listener into the heart of the song. However, each song has its own distinctive identity, demonstrating Monroe’s versatility and skill as both a writer and a vocalist. The bluesy “Rage On” evokes comparisons with Chris Stapleton, Bruce Springsteen and Stax gospel greats like the Staple Singers.
Monroe co-wrote “This Side of You,” the current single from the project, with Jason Duke and Ryan Griffin (the pair who recently co-wrote Kelsea Ballerini’s “Dibs”) and the song is now impacting country radio. The uptempo slice of happy fun will set fingers tapping steering wheels making rush hour traffic a little more bearable with the radio volume cranked up a notch. By the way, the female voice on the track is Kristen Rogers of A Thousand Horses.
Be sure to give this EP a listen. Meanwhile, catch an ‘unplugged’ video version of “This Side of You” posted on YouTube for the CDX Hallway of Fame.
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GYPSY SOUL – Rick Monroe, Album review by Preshias Harris firstname.lastname@example.org