Review: Cash & Carter Release New Debut EP “No Use Praying”
UPDATED: December 29, 2023
UPDATED: December 29, 2023

Who are Cash & Carter?

Cash & Carter, a breakout duo from the UK, consists of Birmingham musician Shaun Smith, better known as Stealth, and London producer, singer, and writer Ross O’Reilly. Cash & Carter was started as side project amongst the two, and the name was chosen to pay respects to country royalty. The debut EP, titled  No Use Praying, comes after the duo’s initial success with the single Americana, earning them a spot on the US New Music Friday Country Playlist on Spotify.

Let’s be clear, I wasn’t familiar with these two gentlemen before stumbling upon a new country duo named “Cash & Carter.” Intrigued, I did a little digging into their background and accolades before fully embracing the bold statements surrounding them. Much to my surprise, I had actually heard a collaboration by this duo before the formation of “Cash & Carter.” The song Judgement Day, penned by this pair and performed by Stealth, played during one of the most climactic scenes in television history—specifically, as attorney Mike Ross faces the consequences of his fraudulent actions in the TV show Suits on USA Network. Okay, boys, you’ve got my attention. If you’re okay by Harvey Specter, you’re alright by me.

British Americana

Now, we could roll around in the weeds all day discussing what qualifies as “Country” music. Is this truly a country album? Well, not exactly. However, from a lyrical standpoint, the No Use Praying EP is unapologetically country music. Track 4 the Ballad of Talulah is a somewhat brash, but endearing anthem of a literal prostitute. It don’t get no more backwoods than that boys. The writing on the EP is truly its strongpoint, bold, fearless, and cleverly exuding emotion.

Cash & Carter cite their inspiration for the EP as The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills & Nash, as well as contemporary artists like Chris Stapleton and Alabama Shakes. While I can detect traces of Alabama Shakes in the project, personally, I view this EP much more of an Americana album. That’s right, a British Americana album. It’s a diverse mix of genres, tastefully blending pop music with modern roots music, creating arrangements reminiscent of a fusion between Hozier and Noah Kahan. Labeling this album proves challenging, but regardless of its genre, it stands out as beautifully and brilliantly arranged and produced. The result is a highly personal and vibrant atmosphere that is distinctly Cash & Carter.

No Use Praying EP

The 5-track EP kicks off with  No Use Praying. The song makes a bold statement and is skillfully arranged to drive its point home. Essentially, No Use Praying serves as a “Do It Yourself” anthem, urging listeners to get their shit together and take charge of their life. Beyond the surface, the song is filled with spite driven religious analogies, proclaiming phrases like “nobody’s gonna part that water for you” or “no one in the sky to blame, so there ain’t no use in praying.” The song is brilliantly arranged as a church hymnal, ironically pairing the lyrics “ain’t no use in praying” against the beautiful harmonies of a gospel choir. The EP is befittingly named as No Use Praying sets a standard as of the records strongest tracks.

Americana (Letting Her Go) is a subtle and sweet tribute to a friend lost to suicide. The song details the struggle of remembrance vs. letting go and moving on. The melody on this tune is superb, its soft and sincere, yet the guitar work is very demanding and driven giving a sense of urgency and loss.

All of the Way is somewhat more lyrically ambiguous compared to its predecessors. Cash & Carter express their commitment to “be there all of the way,” leaving room for interpretation—perhaps in solidarity with a lover, friend, or even a family member. Regardless, the tune is a straightforward, feel-good song, as if one is simply walking along and keeping rhythm with the prominent percussion line.

The Ballad of Talulah stands out as my personal favorite on the EP, destined for heavy rotation. It’s undeniably the most country-influenced track on the record, both in terms of lyrics and musical style. The song is the first to be driven by an acoustic guitar, followed by a kick drum that picks up the pace, creating a distinctive “singer-songwriter” vibe. As mentioned earlier, lyrically, this song is among the most interesting and clever on the album. The song details the whimsical, empowering, yet tragic lifestyle and experiences of a professional call-girl: “They all want to save me, right until they pay me, then it’s home to their wives.”

Cash & Carter conclude the EP with a modern and dramatic interpretation of The Cure’s  Just Like Heaven. The cover is exceptionally well-executed, showcasing their ability to achieve what many overlook when covering songs. Cash & Carter have completely transformed it into something unique, successfully adding their own spin and altering both the mood and interpretation. It serves as a fitting end to a flawless debut.

Final Thoughts

Cash & Carter set a new song crafting standard for 2024

Cash & Carter’s EP, No Use Praying, has genuinely caught me off guard with its unexpected quality and uniqueness. As my first official taste, they have not disappointed.  The duo has showcased that their songwriting skills are on another level. No Use Praying, the title track is the perfect example. The song is ironically, yet purposely arranged with a choir of gospel harmonies denouncing the heavens in lieu of self help. Each song on this EP presents thought-provoking lyrics matched by top-notch production. Cash and Carter have created a unique and distinct sound unlike anything else in the game.

 Favorite Tracks: The Ballad of Talaluh, No Use Praying

 

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

No Use Praying realeases January 5, 2024 on all platforms. Pre-save with the link below

You may also be interested in Stealth’s I Dont Need Your Love

‘Passage Du Desir’ – Johnny Blue Skies – New Album Review

‘Passage Du Desir’ – Johnny Blue Skies – New Album Review

For those unacquainted, Johnny Blue Skies is the new alias of the legendary badass, Sturgill Simpson. Known for his genre-defying approach, Simpson now records under this fresh moniker, presenting his latest work, Passage Du Desir. Stugill Simpson Vs. Johnny Blue...

Vincent Mason Releases New Single: ‘Heart Like This’ (w/Review)

Vincent Mason Releases New Single: ‘Heart Like This’ (w/Review)

Vincent Mason, a burgeoning talent within the roots music arena, has just released his latest single Heart Like This. The poignant song delves into the harrowing aftermath of heartbreak once more, a theme that resonates deeply with his listeners. Released on July 5th,...

‘Long Way from Home’ – George Ducas – New Album Review

‘Long Way from Home’ – George Ducas – New Album Review

Renowned country music artist George Ducas, celebrated for his Billboard Top 10 hit Lipstick Promises, has an impressive track record of penning successful songs for legends such as George Jones, Garth Brooks, The Chicks, and Trisha Yearwood. Produced by the esteemed...

‘Bright Skyline’ – Matt Hillyer – New Album Review

‘Bright Skyline’ – Matt Hillyer – New Album Review

Matt Hillyer comes to the forefront with his new album Bright Skyline. Discovering great talent is always a thrill, and sometimes a humbling one when I realize I've overlooked a remarkable artist. Often, this talent hails from Texas—a state with a unique ecosystem of...

Eddie Flint Releases New Single: ‘Midnight Rider’

Eddie Flint Releases New Single: ‘Midnight Rider’

Eddie Flint, the rising country artist and active-duty U.S. Sailor, has released his heartfelt new single, Midnight Rider. The track is entirely written, recorded, and produced by Eddie, showcasing his multifaceted talent. This song tells the poignant story of his...

Troy Cartwright Releases New Single: ‘Lincoln Continental’

Troy Cartwright Releases New Single: ‘Lincoln Continental’

Country music sensation Troy Cartwright has released his highly anticipated new single, Lincoln Continental. The song tells the heartwarming love story of Cartwright's grandparents, brought to life through his soulful vocals and a captivating, groovy melody....

‘Fighting For’ – Evan Honer – New Album Review

‘Fighting For’ – Evan Honer – New Album Review

Evan Honer returns with his latest album, Fighting For, released on June 7, 2024. The new project showcases his growth as a songwriter and artist, featuring heartfelt lyrics and a blend of traditional instruments and modern sounds, proving he is a standout in the...

Sierra Ferrell To Headline at FloydFest’s New Site (2024)

Sierra Ferrell To Headline at FloydFest’s New Site (2024)

Sierra Ferrell is set to headline FloydFest 24 Horizon, bringing her unique blend of American roots music to the festival's new location in Floyd, Virginia. After the cancellation of FloydFest 2023 due to environmental regulation issues, anticipation for the event has...

Related Articles

‘Passage Du Desir’ – Johnny Blue Skies – New Album Review

‘Passage Du Desir’ – Johnny Blue Skies – New Album Review

For those unacquainted, Johnny Blue Skies is the new alias of the legendary badass, Sturgill Simpson. Known for his genre-defying approach, Simpson now records under this fresh moniker, presenting his latest work, Passage Du Desir. Stugill Simpson Vs. Johnny Blue...

‘The Great American Bar Scene’ – Zach Bryan – New Album Review

‘The Great American Bar Scene’ – Zach Bryan – New Album Review

Zach Bryan returns with his latest album, The Great American Bar Scene, releasing fittingly on the anniversary of our great nation July 4, 2024. True to Bryan's prolific pace, this album arrives just 10 months after his self-titled album, Zach Bryan. Comprising 19...

Vincent Mason Releases New Single: ‘Heart Like This’ (w/Review)

Vincent Mason Releases New Single: ‘Heart Like This’ (w/Review)

Vincent Mason, a burgeoning talent within the roots music arena, has just released his latest single Heart Like This. The poignant song delves into the harrowing aftermath of heartbreak once more, a theme that resonates deeply with his listeners. Released on July 5th,...