Fred's Country Fried Rock: Fifth on the Floor, “Distant Memory Lane” (2010)

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One of the very first installments of Country Fried Rock that I wrote was on Fifth on the Floor’s “The Fall.” The Southern soul tune remains my favorite by the band, but this ballad is a very, very close second.

If you’re looking for an illustration of what’s wrong with the music industry right now, look no farther than “Distant Memory Lane.” The fact that this song was not huge is criminal. It’s a far better song than pretty much anything getting airplay in the country, pop or rock world right now.

The track opens with a haunting acoustic guitar lick that has just a little bit of the familiar Johnny Cash chug to it, but it’s a much more delicate and beautiful piece. That’s when singer Justin Wells begins his lament of lost love. The soulful voice that packed so much power into “The Fall” puts just as much pain, loss and grief into “Distant Memory Lane.” The lyrics are almost poetic, and the song just washes over you, taking you to that dark place where the subject of the song is.

Wells is the focus for most of the tune, with guitarist Matty Rodgers providing some mandolin to accent the acoustic guitar and an occasional assist from a female backing vocalist, but just a few minutes before the end of the tune, things boil over, breaking out into a hard-rocking finale that leaves you feeling that, for better or worse, things are going to get resolved. I hate to invoke “Free Bird,” but it is kind of reminiscent of that ending, though not as long and drawn out.

Like a good song should, “Distant Memory Lane” takes you on an emotional ride, and it’s a crying shame that more people haven’t heard it — or Fifth on the Floor as a whole. Hopefully that will change as they caught the ear of Shooter Jennings, who is producing their forthcoming record which should hit shelves late this year.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelse reviews.com.
Fred Phillips
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