David Quinn Sends a Love Letter to the Midwest with His New Album ‘Country Fresh’

by Clayton Edwards
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Like many other artists, David Quinn took the extra downtime provided by the pandemic to put together a new album. However, he did more than hang out at the house and pen some new tunes. Instead, Quinn packed his stuff, left Chicago, and moved to a little piece of land on a lake in rural Indiana. His rural Midwestern surroundings brought back memories from his childhood. That nostalgia served as much of the inspiration for a record that country music fans across the nation will be able to get behind.

According to his official website, David Quinn calls his music, and this album in particular, Black Dirt Country. Where Red Dirt captures the spirit of Texas and Oklahoma, Black Dirt is “the sound of Midwestern storytelling.” It’s a fitting description. It’s clear that these vignettes are taken from his life. However, he keeps things just open enough to be relatable. In this way, Quinn embodies the Midwestern everyman in this 12-song collection.

There are times on this album when David Quinn really wears his influences on his sleeve. For instance, the upbeat “Cornbread and Chili” brings to mind Guy Clark’s writing. In that tune, Quinn namedrops John Prine whose influence runs through the songwriting on Country Fresh especially in “Hummingbird’s Song” which closes the album. At the same time, “Down Home” makes me think of Waylon in his prime. However, it never feels like Quinn is doing anything but telling his story and taking us on a ride through the flatlands of America.

Standout Tracks from Country Fresh

I’ve had this album on repeat for most of the afternoon and I find myself becoming a bigger fan of David Quinn with each replay. As someone who grew up in the Midwest, the pictures that Quinn paints throughout Country Fresh conjure up the same kind of nostalgia that inspired him to create them. I’ll be putting a handful of these tunes on my personal playlist for the weekend.

“Country Fresh”

David Quinn opened Country Fresh with the title track and hooked me immediately. A steel guitar kicks off the song, then a fiddle falls in behind it before the rest of the band comes in. To me, the combination of fiddle and steel is hard to beat. Pair that combination with some solid songwriting and you’ve got a recipe for one hell of a country song.

“Grassy Trails”

Recently, I noticed that modern country music has a marked lack of train songs. I don’t remember the last time I heard a new song about trains or, more specifically, riding the rails. “Grassy Trails” scratched that itch for me. The song is about hopping a train and riding it to Mexico. Behind lyrics about being a rail tramp are big electric guitars, more pedal steel, and some blistering harmonica work.

“Cornbread and Chili”

It’s hard not to smile when this song comes on. “Cornbread and Chili” celebrates the simple things in life like cornbread, chili, sweet tea, and good music from folks like Willie Nelson and John Prine. “Cornbread and chili / Bo and Luke up on the telly / John Prine singin’ on the radio,” just sounds like a damn good evening to me.

On top of the homey and smile-inducing lyrics, this song showcases another of my favorite musical pairings: banjo and fiddle. In short, this is a toe-tapper that will put a smile on your face. What else do you really need?

Final Verdict on David Quinn’s New Album

I really can’t recommend Country Fresh enough. I focused on some of the more upbeat tracks on the album, but David Quinn displays some serious emotional range throughout. There are sad songs like “I Came Back to You (To Say Goodbye)” and contemplative moments like “Hummingbird’s Song” as well. The songwriting and storytelling here are top-notch as is the musical accompaniment. Do yourself a favor and check out Country Fresh today.

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