There is no dearth of songs or albums these days parading around America as the primary subject matter, from fawning and flamingly-patrotic versions from the mainstream country flock, to the derisive and accusatory stuff coming from the alt-country and Americana set. The United States is a popular and polarizing subject in music right now to say the least. It feels like were mere moments away from the Southern Poverty Law Center declaring the American flag itself as a symbol of hate.
But Reckless Kelly isn’t really looking to dive directly into that whole fracas with their new double record American Jackpot/American Girls, despite what you may glean from the title and cover art. The first song on the album (“American Jackpot”) puts in context how lucky Americans are to be living in this time and place, without overlooking that there’s still many that struggle, and that these lands were taken from others. It’s that dichotomy, and a more nuanced and balanced look at the American experience from being both grateful and proud, but instilled with a little guilt knowing you’ve got it great but others don’t, that sets the table for the record.
Instead of being about America itself in the sense of songs about its grand landscapes or the unique ethos governing the land, American Jackpot/American Girls is more about the American experience told through stories of American people—a grandpa who can fix anything, the baseball player Jackie Robinson. And in the end, it doesn’t really feel like a conceptualized or thematic record at all. It just feels like a quintessential Reckless Kelly record more than anything, meaning you get some rocking songs, some country songs, songs in between