I must confess, I'm one to enjoy a good list. So needless to say, I always look forward to December, when I get to compile my list of the top 40 songs of each year. It's a difficult process to order the song for the most part. But with few exceptions, the easy part is determining the number one song of a given year. The next two songs had the distinction of reaching the top slot in my countdown. For the first time last year, my top 40 countdown was broadcast over Deep Ellum Radio. And for those who listened regularly to my shows, rare was the episode where Calhoun was not played. Their album Heavy Sugar returned lead singer Tim Locke to a more pop sounding style, making it perfect radio ear candy. At least that is what one first notices upon first listen. But Tim Locke's other strength besides melodies is his ability to craft lyrics that tell a story. No song better exemplifies that strength of Tim Locke's than "Indian Melody", with imagery so vivid it's as if he has transported you into his story.
For song number nine on the countdown, rewind one year to 2010. That was the year when Pale Horse emerged from the ashes of Greater Good. It was quite a transformation for the band, moving from 60's style pop-soul to the darker southern vibe that was Pale Horse. Equally as dark as the melodic mood of the band were the lyrics, ranging in topic from life after war ("Will You Be There") to religion ("Don't Lose Your Soul"). Religion plays a role in "You're No Good", the story of a preacher who uses religion to excuse the sins he commits against his family. It's an intense story, with an equally intense vocal performance by lead singer J.R. Denson. His gritty, deeply emotional delivery fits the song perfectly.
While the EP was good, Pale Horse's strength was in its live shows. Unfortunately, the band is no longer together. My understanding is that Mr. Denson has a new band he's working on. I look forward to whatever music he puts out in the future. Until then, check out song number nine on the countdown.