‘He Shot More Than Birds’ – Duke Oursler – New Album Review
UPDATED: April 15, 2024
UPDATED: April 15, 2024
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Being sent new music is the best perk of the so called “industry”, and it’s even more exciting when it leads to discoveries like Duke Oursler. His new album, He Shot More Than Birds, has swiftly captured our attention at RootsnRevelry, positioning itself as a standout in the realm of emerging talent.

This 10-track album is a dual tribute: part homage to Duke’s late father and part reflection on his upbringing in the Southwestern Plains of Kansas. Oursler’s music, deeply rooted in his blue-collar experiences and poetic inclination, epitomizes the spirit of Roots Music.

His work, genuine and relatable, speaks to the everyman, offering an authentic and unfiltered look at the Midwestern way of life. Navigating between country and rock, Oursler’s sound remains sincere and true to its roots. He Shot More Than Birds has proven to be an unexpected gem, marking its place as one of the best albums of 2024.

Songs and Lyrics

Duke Oursler’s journey of self-made success is vividly brought to life in his latest album, especially with the opening track Bootstraps, which perfectly encapsulates the spirit of resilience. This blue-collar anthem, supported by the gritty sound of an overdriven guitar, showcases Oursler’s defiance with lines like “you gotta pull so damn hard, that you bust your bust straps.”

Lineman, immediately seizes your attention, blending electrifying guitar riffs and fiddle melodies. The song mystically details the modern day heroics, yet challenging life of a lineman yearning to return home.

Oursler and the production team’s sharp insight become apparent by the time Wapiti plays, revealing their deep understanding of the album’s direction. Consisting of intricate arrangements and captivating melodies, the album hold the listener’s attention from the first note to the last. Wapiti (a Shawnee term for Elk) features an incurably infectious fiddle lead, as Oursler honors his father’s legacy through the narrative of elk hunting in Colorado.

More Standout Tracks

West Kansas Plains stands out as my favorite track from the album, leaning much more towards country influences, both musically and lyrically. The arrangement, featuring a honky-tonk piano and fiddle, sets a melancholic yet subtly ironic tone against the narrative backdrop. The song decribes a man’s idyllic life on the plains with his “barrel racing girl,” only to face a dramatic twist of fate that compels him to seek justice, encapsulated in the titular lyric, “He Shot More Than Birds.”

 The album shifts into Southern Rock territory with The Mill, a raw and introspective look at the pursuit of the “American Dream”. This track, drives home the thematic exploration of blue-collar struggles. Duke Oursler’s vocal prowess, capable of a low growl even James Hetfield would envy, adds depth and intensity to the track. 

Tracklist:

Song Title
Bootstraps
West Kansas Plains
Blame It All On Me
The Mill
Set Me Free
Wapiti
Lineman
Pushing Mud
Time To Grow Old
Promised Land

Final Thoughts

Duke Oursler delivers an unforgettable snapshot of midwestern music.

He Shot More Than Birds is destined to be a focal talking point in the Roots Music scene, offering a refreshingly genuine and authentic experience. Duke Oursler’s talent for weaving words is evident; his lyrics are clever and meaningful without ever crossing into pretentiousness.

The album’s raw production enhances its authenticity, skillfully navigating the genres of country and southern rock to convey its message with clarity. He Shot More Than Birds fulfills its promise, providing a vivid glimpse into the blue-collar existence and the essence of midwestern life, all while delivering some damn great country music. Each track stands out, contributing to its acclaim as one of the best albums of 2024. 

Album Release: January 19, 2024

Label: The Farm Way Records

Favorite Tracks: Wapiti, West Kansas Plains

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

B-

For Tour and Merch: Follow Duke Oursler

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