I canâ€™t pretend Iâ€™m into this, or that contemporary country doesnâ€™t aggravate the shit out of me in an all-encompassing sense, from its aesthetics to its subject matter. I also canâ€™t pretend that this doesnâ€™t fit perfectly within its designated niche and wonâ€™t please the demographic of said niche. Anthony Orio has thus far earned himself several keynote Nashville accolades, featured on ASCAPâ€™s Hot on the Row series (with gigs at legendary venues The Opry House and the Ryman as well as the legendary dive Tootsieâ€™s Orchid Lounge) and shared stages with Kris Kristofferson, Toby Keith and Jamey Johnson. Heâ€™s the quintessential country success story who chased the Nashville-specific dream, moving from Philadelphia to Music City at age 18 to put himself through the open-mic wringer, 90 percent of which is white noise (not because its performers arenâ€™t talented but, in fact, because they are), and eventually starting his own writers rounds.
Whatâ€™s commendable is that he did, in fact, take the much more arduous, much-less-often credited path of a professional songwriter, and emerged as such with an irrefutably accessible and radio-ready pop writing style, published by Sony, Universal, RPM and Major Bob. Heavy shit. I canâ€™t speak to Orioâ€™s live show, of which he does an average 200 a year, but I can imagine how they translate based onÂ Between Home & the Bright Lights, a 2012 release that drifted into theÂ PulseÂ office recently. The songs are personal, sometimes serious but not heavy, usually set in the bar or the bedroom; sex is everywhere, the songs are forceful, sometimes vindictive, and Orioâ€™s voice spits them out in a developed, strong and effortless twang.
Recorded at The Tracking Room in Nashville, the album is largely guitar-driven and features a range of guitarists standing in for the record, which Orio helped produce. The 13 tracks are a mix of torch songs and fist-pumpersâ€”thereâ€™s the sensory profession of lust, â€œEverything That Touches You,â€ the euphoria-of-drinking song, â€œWalkinâ€™ On Whiskeyâ€ and the singalong â€œGood Problemsâ€ to name a few. Et cetera. The shoe fits.
For concert dates and more on Anthony Orio, visitÂ anthonyorio.com.