Review — Cowboy Mouth’s “This Train…”

Four years after their last album, “Fearless,” Cowboy Mouth is back, and very possibly better than ever.

With its tenth album, 20 years after its first, the band, with “This Train…” has captured in a single album a perfect Cowboy Mouth primer, capturing what the band is all about with songs that measure up with any they’ve recorded.

The album begins with the high-energy, rocking title track. While Cowboy Mouth is a excellent studio band, they are unparalleled as a live act, a fact that’s hinted at in this, the only live recording on the otherwise studio album. To be sure, it’s a restrained and focused live performance for the band, absent of lead singer and drummer Fred LeBlanc’s interplay with the audience, but its a recording that makes it easy to imagine that the song will become a cornerstone of Cowboy Mouth concerts for quite a while. Energetic and catchy, “This Train” is an instant Cowboy Mouth classic.

“Blues At Bay” is Cowboy Mouth at play, a creative and fun song that, as the title implies, brings in a blues-y feel while still remaining quintessentially Cowboy Mouth. While the two songs are very different, “When It Rains” does something similar, mixing in an exotic melody while keeping the Cowboy Mouth feel.

“All The Way To Austin” is the newest album’s proof that Cowboy Mouth are not only reigning masters of Southern rock, they’re darned proud of it.

“Be Alive Tonight” is as distilled a version of the Cowboy Mouth gospel as the band has ever recorded. The band’s concerts are not only a virtuoso musical performance, they are a call for the audience — the congregation — to celebrate life. “Be Alive Tonight” is the perfect altar call for that message.

“I Believe” is not a new song, having been included in the band’s last album, but it measures among their best, and the inclusion of the “This Train Version” of the song on this album just helps to secure its place as the perfect introductory Cowboy Mouth album for new listeners, and a modern masterpiece for long-time fans.

The album is currently available exclusively from the band’s web site for $5.99, and the band is currently on tour supporting it.