George McAnthony – Dust Off My Boots (CD Review)

George McAnthony – Dust Off My Boots (CD Review)
Tracking Listing
1. Steve The Hawk 2. Dust Off My Boots 3. Horseman 4. Still That Boy 5. Who Feels This Way
6. Country Gypsy 7. Reach For The Moon 8. Turn Me Loose 9. Show Me The Way
10. Change Rhythm 11. Irish Sunrise 12. Hold Me 13. Fly Little Bird 14. Nashville Calling
15. Mexico Medley: Mexico/Pay Me My Money Down
Catalog # – GMA-014
Self Released
Time – 53:10
Lyrics – Included
Release Date – 17 June 2011 (Digitally)
Time – 53:10
This was the 14th studio album released by the South Tyrolean, Italian country artist. It was recorded back in April 2010 at Hilltop Studios in Nashville by John Nicholson and Francesco Mattuzzi and subsequently mixed, edited and co-produced by Mattuzzi at Rotfarb Recording Studios in Zurich, Switzerland.
George McAnthony self-wrote 14 of the 15 tracks, all written in the English. They are mostly mid to up-tempo joyful toe tappers and reflect life-stories over the course of McAnthony’s journey. They focus on rich and important values that have rewarded his life. The album is on target from start to finish and the musicianship is superb with the crop of Music Rows finest pickers lending a hand, which include: Brent Mason (electric guitar), Paul Franklin and Mike Johnson (pedal steel, dobro), Owen Hale (drums), Rob Hajacos (fiddle), Kerry Marx and Chris Kaufmann (guitars), Jimmy Carter (bass), Dirk Johnson (piano and keyboards), Bryan Sutton and Joel Key (acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo).
The overall feeling is that everyone was having a great time in the studio evident from the get-go with ‘Steve The Hawk’. George very much a caring soul and humanitarian spent time in Ethiopia and has been a long-time friend of the charity Caritas . In the song he sings: “I love the people, the humankind / I can brighten up their state of mind”. It’s an observational piece looking down on the fast pace of life with an encouragement to slow down. Steven Hill & Monty Lane Allen add background vocals on the chorus on a track that features fabulous interplay on fiddle, harmonica, dobro and mandolin that will have you clapping along.
McAnthony offers a happy-go-lucky approach on ‘Dust Off My Boots’. When avoiding quarrels, wiping down his boots he sings: When wranglers and wiseacres think that they rule / you are not a wimp if you simply stay away / I tell you boy, it really doesn’t pay.
George’s love of horses is apparent on the dreamy western flavoured ‘Horseman’ when a man and a stallion seek respect, trust and companionship: He’s the best horse you can desire / with grace, beauty, spirit and fire / for his horseman he would do everything.
Still That Boy’ a free-spirited, blissful number is very much in Alan Jackson Chattahoochee style. Now a man McAnthony wherever he roams pays homage and remembers his childhood upbringing and the values he learnt living in a multicultural neighbourhood – “It felt good to learn the art of living peacefully together
Who Feels This Way’ features some outstanding guitar-work. The feeling is deep and atmospheric where darkness lurks beneath calmer shores. Yes we are all universally culpable of taking things for granted in a relationship, as sunny days pass by and time quickly slips away.
The auto-biographically ‘Country Gypsy’ is a hoe-down bluegrass induced track. The man has travelled, music is his passion and he respects diversity – Just dance and have some fun!
Reach For The Moon’ is a slow paced comforting ballad with aching dobro. It cautions a friend to take life at a slower pace before it’s too late – You play the game with a loaded dice, but are you ready to pay the price?Turn Me Loose’ has a rockin’ Western swing vibe where freedom wins over adversity and from the entrapping of a thorny liaison!
As a cold wind blows, McAnthony reaches out to another onShow Me The Way’. He questions modern life – “The secret and the meaning of the great design are hidden somewhere along the way” but with the lush pedal steel and fiddle this eases and cheers any heart on life’s rocky road.
Change Rhythm’ is loosely inspired by Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” and is a fast paced dance track on which each of the Nashville pickers are allowed to showcase their wares to great effect – It’s time to go into overdrive and let go!
McAnthony’s trip to Ireland in 20O3 inspired his album GREAT SPIRIT. Once again George repeats that formula on the merry Celtic ‘Irish Sunrise’ with Helmuth Pircher playing bagpipes and Irish Whistle on a number which splices in snippets of reels in the vein of Baile An Chalaidh and Toss The Feathers.
The slowly, tender ‘Hold Me’ finds George in a romantic mood then the tempo takes off once more on the fiddle-laden ‘Fly Little Bird’. With the feel-good, fun ‘Nashville Calling’ , George relates a tale from a kid in a record store in the early 70’s listening to those Tennessee sounds. Then taking up the guitar in the 80’s he tries so hard to create that magic – “The dream became stronger and stronger, I ain’t gonna wait any longer”. Fast forward to 2010 it becomes reality, jamming with the pickers in Music City. Name checking Brent Mason and Owen Hale with its infectious beat McAnthony sings – It’s all about love and living, it’s what we’re singing for.
The album closes out with the upbeat ‘Mexico Medley. This combines Les Humphries “Mexico” (see video) from 1972 (based on Jimmy Driftwoods country smash ‘The Battle of New Orleans) and the work song “Pay Me My Money Down”. Its words were gathered by Lydia Parrish in her 1942 book Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands and Pete Seeger composed and recorded “Pay Me” with The Weavers in 1955. In recent years it was a popular song on Bruce Springsteen’s folk album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions which he played on tour in 2006 in the guise of the Seeger Sessions Band Tour.
This is an album that will make you smile, put you in the party mood party and head for the dance floor!
It is with great sadness that George McAnthony recently died of a heart attack on 8th July 2011 on a beach at Terracina in the Lazio region, he was only 45. The most well-known Italian country singer-songwriter fulfilled a dream with this album and leaves a legacy of great country music. We salute you George, thank you for the music you gave to the world and in the spirit you delivered it.

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