It's been a long and varied ride to say the least for music veteran Buzz Cason. His career, which has spanned parts of six decades, has seen Cason sing backup for the likes of Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson and sing lead for Buddy Holly's old band, the Crickets. He has penned songs that have been covered by U2 and The Beatles, sat in the producer's chair and has found himself enshrined as a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He's also a performer in his own right and his new release, Record Machine, is a mix of familiar sounds, yet somehow sounds fresh.
The album opens with title track and the familiar snap, crackle and pop of a record playing. The song has a bluesy, country drawl about it and blends electric and acoustic guitars with electric piano and organ. The track details Cason's love of vinyl and, more importantly, music - a nostalgic theme he revisits throughout the album. Sun Records meets the blues on "Don't Worry Mama," a song with a gritty vocal over some serious guitar strumming. Cason sounds as if he is singing through the harmonica mic in this authentic number.
Cason gets serious with the socially conscious "Dodgin' Bullets." The song blends smart lyrics over a dirty guitar riff with a swamp-like tone. It's not all blues and grit here, however. Songs such as "Follower," "No Word From You" and "Overload" are all fantastic slices of power pop. "Follower" adds psychedelic touches to a song that wouldn't feel out of place in the Fountains of Wayne catalog while the others mix jangly guitars and melodic choruses straight from the mid 1960s.
While ten of the 11 tracks are originals, Cason reimagines the George Jones classic "She Still Thinks I Care" as a reggae track. As bizarre as that may sound, it works, and it proves, once again, that a good song is a good song. The album closes out with the Springsteen-sounding "Wait On Your Love," ending the proceedings on a rocking note. The track, along with "Record Machine" and "She Still Thinks I Care," features a cameo from the Nashville duo Steelism. Sugarcane Jane's Anthony Crawford appears on a couple tracks as well, as does Cason's son Parker.
Six decades on and Buzz Cason still has something to say musically. With an exciting new album, Record Machine, and a tour to follow, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for this veteran.