Mike Parrish
TEXAS IN THE MAN
©2007 Hangin’ Boot Records
Review by Lucky Boyd

Over the years, I’ve met about 200 cops.  At least 150 of them have told me they could sing and write songs.  Only about ten of them really could do it well.  Mike Parrish is one of those ten.  Actually, if I disqualify any of my relatives who are in law enforcement, it would be easy to say that Parrish is one of the best I’ve heard.  Now, erase the knowledge that he could arrest you if you don’t buy his CD and let’s get down to the music.  From the opening rockabilly cut, you’re going to be in the mood for Parrish’s brand of in-your-face country music.  This cut, influenced by the Tractors or Kentucky Headhunters-styled tunes, sets a wonderful upbeat tone for the album.  Undoubtedly a crowd favorite at shows, “Blue Jean Baby” still rocks as a studio cut.  The Raul Malo influence is evident on several cuts including “Sunny Day,” the albums second cut.  “Color Me Gone” says it all for those who are ready to take a new direction in life after one of those terrible disappointing relationships.  This would make a good break-up song.  The first three tracks are written by Parrish as are nine more of this fifteen-cut disc.  Parrish co-writes with Sammy Hundley, who also performs on the album, on three tracks including the title cut, on which Hundley also performs vocally.  The writing is solid, a little cliché in spots, but well-done for this style of music.  Country music listeners aren’t interested in being shocked by lyrics.  They would rather have something they can relate to.  This album has songs that can relate to any listener.  The performances and instrumentation are tasteful and devoid of slick tricks and over-production making it a very easy listen throughout.  “Ain’t We Got It Good” tackles the subject of freedom-for-a-price and pays tribute to military service personnel who have died for their country.  Much of the album has a modern version of traditional country offerings with excellent vocal work, but returns to rock on the title cut.  A well-written rock country song, “Texas In The Man” is an anthem which finds both Parrish and Hundley on lead vocals and the band takes a small opportunity to pay tribute to ZZ Top in the middle of the tune.  That shouldn’t be a surprise, since Parrish and Hundley turn in a Hill/Gibbons-worthy performance on the track.  “Texas When I Die (part II)” had me listening for a Tanya Tucker cover, but instead, a well-written song about the famed ditty made famous by Tucker.  Jimmy Buffett is a musical island, and though it’s odd that his first (and only) number one song was a duet with a country singer, he has influenced quite a few new writings.  Parrish pays tribute to the Buffett experience (and in a way Don Williams, too) with “Buffett Time” as he’s ‘livin’ on Buffett time.” Parrish writes as well as Haggard on “I Can’t Tell You Goodbye,” and Hundley turns in his best guitar solo on this track.  After hearing ten cuts of this disc, I’ve discovered a pattern with Parrish.  He never forgets anything he’s ever heard.  His writing has phrases we all know, melody lines that hint at our favorite songs for just a measure or two, and instrumentation that makes us comfortable with familiarity.  During all this, Parrish has developed his own sound.  You won’t find a reviewer saying Parrish ‘sounds like’ anyone else, because he doesn’t.  His distinctive style is refreshing and familiar, all the while introducing you to country music in a brand new way.  Everything about the production of this disc is better than good, but there’s no telling what an award-winning producer like Billy High could do with this band if given the chance.  The talent is there, no doubt, both in the writing and performance.  The term ‘constable’ is derived from the days of old when there was a person in charge of making sure no one stole the horses from the town stable.  Back then, horses were quite possibly a man’s most prized possession, and so ‘constable’ became a highly respected position.  These days Constables have a different role in law enforcement, but anyone who knows about them can tell you that when approached with respect and integrity, the job can be one of the most rewarding in the industry.  Take time to seek out Constable Parrish’s biography and see what brought him to the place where this album was born.  Not only is the music outstanding, Parrish has garnered a great deal of respect from this reviewer during this process starting with his service to our country in the armed forces.  The album’s last cut will bring you to a different place emotionally.  A tribute to fallen family members and other heroes, “Angel Fly” will touch your heart when you learn that the inspiration for this song began with the tragic loss of Parrish’s teenage son in 1999.  This reviewer hears thousands of songs annually, but few incite a desire to meet the writer in person as does this track.  To Mike, keep up the good work, and I hope our paths cross soon.  To music fans, this is your next purchase.