This New Koe Wetzel Album ‘Hell Paso’ is Definitely Not For Everyone
But since you clicked, I've got a really good feeling it's going to be just right for you. While Hell Paso may touch on country here and there, there isn't anything obviously "country" about the East Texas native's latest project.
Listen guys, I'm a staunch defender of "Country Music," but like most human beings I enjoy many different types of music, and that should be embraced.
I'll pull my bullhorn out anywhere to make sure everyone knows that it's not just "Country Music" or "Texas Country" we're spinning Radio Texas, LIVE! For every Cody Johnson, Aaron Watson or Randall King song you hear, we play an American Aquarium, Cross Canadian Ragweed, or a Koe Wetzel song too.
I prefer to consume my music more like it's a chunky stew and using a fork, rather than a smoothie through a straw.
And that's why we call our selection of music "Texas" and "Red Dirt." It leaves the door open, it doesn't box us in. But most importantly it's not misleading to our listeners. And it's why I'm comfortable playing Read Southall Band next to Randy Rogers Band sandwiched between Kolby Cooper, Kylie Frey, and Whiskey Myers.
SIDENOTE: My issues with the "that's not country music" debate tend to flare when folks are out here trying to bill something that is so obviously not country as country. Why, bruh? Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining... But, hey, if you wanna get peed on, more power to you.
Labeling music is hard, maybe even kind of a stupid to do, but we kinda gotta do it. However intentionally mislabeling it to sell more is downright devil-sh*t. But they'll never stop doing it, so let's just move on.
Let's talk about Texas Country/Rocker Koe Wetzel and his new album.
Noise Complaint, was Texas Music's most career defining album of the past decade. It sent Koe and the boys into full on hyper-drive. They shot from dive-bars on Tuesday nights to festival headliners seemingly overnight. So how do does one even come close to something like that again?
The answer: Harold Saul High. That album showed that despite success, Koe Wetzel was not afraid to continue being himself. It added a new level of songwriting that proved that he belongs at the forefront of America's musical landscape. It’s southern rock and roll meets late ‘90s and early 2000s punk rock meets raw, hillbilly Texas country music.
In '20 we got his third album Sellout. The project was his first major label release with Columbia Records. Not only was if chock full of bangers, 13 of the 14 tracks were either written or co-written by Koe. Koe's not selling out, he's doing exactly what he wants... only now on a much bigger stage.
This morning we got an early listen to Hell Paso, and surprise! just like he's been telling us all year, this is not a country album. In a super meta moment, he even addresses that in the middle of the album with a skit titled "Cheers."
Back in January we spoke with Koe, while he was in the studio working on the album, and he warned everyone to not expect a county album. I specifically asked him if it was going to be the country album he's been talking about eventually doing:
"No, it's not... We're throwing out all the stops on this record. It's more alternative, southern rock, heavier rock. It does have some country sounding songs, but overall it's more of an alternative record."
This Friday (September 16th) Koe Wetzel's new album Hell Paso will be released. If you are preparing for a country album that's fine, but also prepare to be disappointed.
If, however, you are preparing for an album with front to back heaters, power ballads, and songs packed with self deprecating humor, introspection, and cuss words, you are setting yourself up for what will be a very pleasant experience.
And, hey, if it is country you want, start with the final track on the album. Track No. 13 titled "To Be Continued," as he promised our listeners in January, it's a taste of his upcoming "Country" album.
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