ALBUM REVIEW: Ellis Bullard – Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution

4.0 rating
Ellis Bullard – Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution

Hailing from Austin, Texas, country music artist Ellis Bullard unveils his latest album, Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution, through the Feels So Good Records label.

Reflecting on the album, Bullard passionately states, "This record encapsulates over a decade of triumphs and setbacks. It's a culmination of blood, sweat, and tears—no nonsense. The camaraderie with the talented musicians, who feel like brothers, translates into an incredible energy both on stage and in the studio. We're ecstatic to have captured and presented that essence in this record."

The inspiration for the titular track struck Bullard during a visit to Steamboat, Colorado. An unexpected encounter with a sign reading, "Lake Vallecito, Not a place, but a state of mind," sparked the creation of the song.

In 2021, Bullard unveiled "Roller Coaster" and a series of singles, paving the way for his debut album, Piss-Hot Freightlining Country Music, in 2022, featuring standout tracks like "Chasing Numbers" and "Biloxi By Two." The following year, his EP, Prison In My Mind, was released.

Having shared stages with renowned artists such as Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, and Cody Johnson, Bullard's sound draws inspiration from legends like Merle Haggard and Jerry Reed, infused with the spirit of Mo Bandy and Joe Stampley collaborations—resulting in a seamless blend of classic and subtle outlaw country.

Rooted in a musical family, Bullard's mother left her mark as a prominent performer at the iconic Muscle Shoals studios in the '60s and '70s, while his great-grandfather was a renowned guitarist associated with Chet Atkins.

Comprising ten tracks, the album kicks off with the lively "Lucky Me, Lucky You, My Unlucky Way," featuring an upbeat rhythm and a delightful swing feel. Bullard's resonant vocals, marked by an alluring drawl, captivate with every note. A standout track, "What’s A Man To Do," holds personal favour, evoking classic country vibes that sway on harmonics, showcasing Bullard's lush voice and contemplative tones reminiscent of George Strait.

"Patron And Lime" shifts gears with twangy guitars and a sparkling piano, as Bullard's distinctive phrasing and rich voice infuse the lyrics with a flavorful, tender flow. The poignant "Hopeless Waltz" delves into heartbreak and loneliness, conveyed through Bullard's emotive vocals and weeping guitars that enhance the melancholic texture of the melody.

Closing with flair, the title track, "Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution," opens with simmering, growling guitars and Bullard's compelling vocals, injecting a sense of urgency into the lyrics. "These days the radio’s broken / Everybody’s up for sale." The album seamlessly resonates with a wide audience, transcending genre boundaries and making it accessible even to those who may not typically gravitate towards country music.


Xsnoize Author
Randall Radic 213 Articles
Randy Radic lives in Northern California where he smokes cigars, keeps snakes as pets, and writes about music and pop culture. Fav artists/bands: SpaceAcre, Buddy Miller, Post Malone, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, and he’s a sucker for female-fronted dream-pop bands.

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