Hitting us with a smoking lead guitar part right in the moments that follow our pressing the play button, Russ Still and the Moonshiners aren’t beating around the bush in their new single “Cancun” – frankly, they aren’t giving the audience much time to realize how hard a rhythm is about to come swinging in our direction until we’re already in the thick of the groove. There aren’t any pumped-up frills in the backend of this track, nor will you find any layered vocal harmonies that are becoming more commonplace in the mainstream country sound.
In their place, you’re going to hear a ton of rock n’ roll grinding from the drums, bassline and guitar flanked with some sexy swaying in our lead vocalist and an adjacent set of keys that will have any roadhouse dancefloor on fire this summer. In essence, Russ Still and the Moonshiners are offering up an unsophisticated take on Americana served with a stiff shot of Wild Turkey 101 in “Cancun,” and whether you’ve heard their music before now or not, it’s bound to get a reaction out of you in even the most cursory of listening sessions.
Everything tends to center on the joint rhythm of the guitar and the drums in this song, but I wouldn’t say that either of these particular parts ever come even close to sounding overstated in the big picture – the exact opposite, truth be told. There’s a nice balance to all of the different instrumental and poetic components in “Cancun,” and while some parts stand out in certain moments more than others, there aren’t any specific instances of overindulgence here.
I love the color that the keys add to the melody up front mostly because of how much it enriches the harmony with the lead vocal, and though the lyrics are definitely on the simplistic/homespun side, they’re not underwhelming in the least. Russ Still is communicating to his listeners through a heck of a lot more than mere linguistics alone in this latest single, and that isn’t something that I’ve been able to say about very many country tracks that have landed on my desk this July.
You can tell that “Cancun” isn’t Russ Still and the Moonshiners’ first rodeo, but their experience together isn’t working against them by any means in this single. On the contrary, the connection that these players share bleeds directly into the tonality of every instrument in the mix, ultimately yielding an incredibly unique sound that no one but Russ Still himself could ever direct. He’s come a long way since his debut, and I for one really like the multilayered approach that he’s taken to all of the material released alongside the Moonshiners in 2020.
This is an artist who has diversified in the last year a lot more than any of his peers would be willing to over the course of an entire career, and though I don’t see his campaign coming to an end anytime soon, this is a new critical peak for sure.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.