Album review – The Great Divide’s Providence

When I founded this blog, in 2018, I didn’t think that I would write, one day, a review of an album of The Great Divide. As a red dirt fan, I knew the importance of this band and the big influence that they had on a whole generation of bands and artists (Cody Canada, Jason Boland, Stonet LaRue and so much more). Josh Crutchmer wrote an excellent chapter about them in his book “Red dirt: roots music born in Oklahoma, raided in Texas, at home anywhere” (excellent book that I strongly recommend, by the way), but I didn’t think that I would be able to listen to a new album of such a legendary band in 2022. I was wrong!

Providence” is the first album of the band since the release of “Under Your Own Sun” in 2005, an album made without Mike McClure who had left the band two years before, to pursue a solo career. The four-piece band is now a five-piece one, with the keyboardist Bryce Conway joining the four other members, Mike McClure, the guitarist Scott Lester, the drummer JJ Lester and the bassist Kelley Green.

The ten songs included in this new LP, all written by Mike McClure, are the evidence that the band doesn’t belong to the history but is still able to provide us some of the best tunes listened this year. Wit this album, you have all that you love about red dirt: quality songwriting, wonderful music and the most important, authenticity. The Great Divide is a band that never goes with the flow but creates amazing music following its own path. That’s why they are so appreciated and respected, and there was no change about that with their new record.

We can find on this new album some authentic gems. I think about the wonderful “My Sweet Lily“, one of those songs that are so authentic and relatable, with a beautiful storytelling. You can’t be indifferent to the fantastic quality of the songwriting while listening to the wonderful “Wrong is Overrated“, one of my favorite songs of this record.

The catchy “Set It All Down“, cowritten with Chrislyn Lawrence, is another gem. Excellently written, it’s an outstanding song on this album, as is the excellent “Good Side“, released as a single in August, and on repeat for me since that date. Another fantastic song is the beautiful “I Can Breathe Again“. This song is absolutely splendid and I appreciate it more and more listen after listen.

Definitely, “Providence” is a brilliant album, full of authentic and relatable songs, with wonderful songwriting. The Great Divide is back and their music is exactly what we need to warm our heart in such a unpredictable and rough world.

Nicolas Davelu

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