Dirt roads. More than just a long stretch of gravel, the symbolism behind these two words hold significance to a lot of us. We’ve all been down one before, not always knowing what lies ahead. After all the bumps and the settled dust, we can look back and see how far we’ve come. Serving as a potent metaphor for our own journeys, join Adam Cousins, of Brussels, Ontario, as he takes us down his path with the Dirt Road EP.
Musically inspired by contemporary country rock artists Luke Combes and Darius Rucker, The Dirt Road EP is a chipper collection of Adam Cousins’s life experiences manifested in song. The EP was recorded by Matt Grady and Nick Fetchison at EMAC Recording Studios with the help of his band: Mitch Bennett (lead guitar), Chris Cleave (bass) and Rich Mikolajczuk (drums). Additional help and credit goes to: Shane Guse (fiddle), Mitch Jay (banjo), Patrick Fockler (piano) and Doug Johnson (pedal steel).
“I don’t know where it’s gonna go, all I know I grew up real close to that long and dusty thing… call it dirt road”
– Adam Cousins, from the song “Dirt Road”
Only three songs long, The Dirt Road EP opens with the titular track, “Dirt Road”, a relatable and upbeat song retracing instances of Adam’s journey that shaped the man he is today and the one he will become as he continues on down his own dirt road. “Right Here With You” takes a tonal shift, nostalgically reflecting on Adam’s relationship with his father, shedding insight on how their interactions together inspired Adam to become as strong a force in the lives of those he cares about as his father was with him. “You Don’t Care Anymore” is a fun, glass half-full blue collar banger about getting together with some buddies and drowning your worries with some liquid courage.
Each song on the EP is distinct while maintaining its country rock aesthetic. The arrangements, rather than just being a foundation for the lyrics, serve to reinforce the nature and message behind each song. From zesty violin/guitar solo combos, hearty banjo plucks to the soft sweeps on the slide steel, each element of instrumentation enhances the notions Adam Cousins wants to convey with this release.
Effectively, the Dirt Road EP really comes together with Adam himself. His capacity to write earnest, relatable lyrics compliments his ability to deliver those same lyrics with a strong, articulate voice. While it seems like an unwritten rule for some country musicians to incorporate an inflated twang, Adam’s natural vocal style is very well annunciated, carrying out with firm cadence washed over with a familiar southern tone.
Altogether, the Dirt Road EP is akin to a bouncy, reflective ride on how something as common and relatable as driving down a dirt road has the power to uniquely transform us on our individual journeys. Albeit only three songs in length, the EP offers diversity amongst its sound, the lyrical themes and the feelings they each evoke. By and large, Adam Cousins’s Dirt Road EP is something any fan of country and its rock counterpart will appreciate.