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If you really want to give...

a dreadful gift this year…This is your gift!

 

 2018 - AF Records.  Ugly sweaters, socks and the dreaded fruitcake; these are some of the worst gifts to receive during the holiday season.  Nonetheless, we can add one more to the ever growing list of dreadful gifts—the new Christmas album from Red Cowboy.

   Yes, they are back and we ask why? We first introduced you to Red Cowboy in 2005, when they released their debut, self entitled album.  The music industry claimed this band was the next Diamond Rio, however, our review stated “On what day did God create Red Cowboy, and couldn’t he have rested on that day too?”  That same review was given to their freshman album, Back In Red, that was released ten years later as the band failed to enhance their skills.

   For the past three years, Red Cowboy has been on tour in Europe and Asia.  They have also earned major notoriety as the hosts of the popular Russian music talent show Golos.  I don’t understand how an incompetent band such as these guys can judge a music talent show. It just goes to show that television is full of deceit.

   I was surprised, to have received Red Cowboy’s newest project A Red Cowboy Christmas. The band was not at all pleased with the two reviews that I gave them.  They were even more displeased at the fact that we often use their name within our album reviews, declaring them as the worst Country Music band of all time. 

   Although the band is horrendous, they are fun to interview, as they do not realize that I am mocking them.  As you may remember, Red Cowboy is made up of four incompetent musicians including Daniil (lead vocalist / guitar), Tam (lead guitarist), Nash (bass), Ivan (drums /songwriter) and Egor (steel guitar).

   Throughout their careers, the band has had several tragedies as they had lost each of their keyboardists.  After losing their last keyboardist, Vasillii, the band returned to Russia.

   After Vasillii’s funeral, the band went on to play without a keyboardist.  Mark Lutes, Senior Record producer of AF Records, advised the band to hire a Steel Guitarist.  Over the years the band has continued their misfortunes, now with steel guitarists.  They went through two before they found Egor.

   “Egor?” responds Ivan when asked why they don’t have a steel guitar on the album.  “He’s no longer with us.  We play for a benefit and his steel guitar fell on him and knocked him off stage where he died.”

   While hosting the ever-popular television show Golos, they met a young starlet by the name of Misha.  The five foot four inch blond is there to lend vocal help.  Nonetheless, her howling vocals fail to add the help they so require.

   “We want to record album again.” shares lead vocalist Daniil.  “We will record album again.  But first, we record Christmas album. Christmas in Russia, there is nothing like it.  We bring Russia Christmas to America. It is our gift.  Our gift to America for Christmas.”

   After listening to this album, all I can say is, where can we return this gift?  Personally, I would be embarrassed by giving such a gift. You would rather have Santa fill your stocking with coal than find this album in there!

   The album features twelve, what I believe to be, Christmas songs.  Among the twelve cuts, you will find six classic carols.

   The album opens with their rendition of “I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus.”  Performed in a millennial country style, the country rap of the chorus will make even your eggnog turn sour.

   As we celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the release of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” this year, I don’t think the writers had this version in mind when they wrote the song.  I have heard some unacceptable renditions of this song, but this is truly horrendous! Words cannot describe this horrific recording.

   It is said that Elvis Presley hated the song “Blue Christmas” and that is why he performed it the way he did.  If he didn’t like it then, then he should have heard Red Cowboy’s version.  I don’t know what this is.  I had to listen to the song four times to comprehend that it was “Blue Christmas.” 

   In my years in the music industry, I have heard several versions of “Winter Wonderland” where it was performed as a duet.  Nonetheless, the vocal combination of Daniil and Misha is far from enchanting.  Daniil tries vigorously to perform in a baritone while Misha performs in a soprano; the result is a concoction of pure poppycock! 

   If you think that is bad, then the worse is yet to come!  Misha takes the reigns when it comes to lead vocals in “Silent Night.”  They should have called it ‘shrill night’ or ‘not so silent night.’  Their version could have sounded better if the band played in the same key as Misha; nonetheless, they played three octave levels below her vocals.  However, the main debacle of the song is the fact that Misha is singing the English version while Ivan is singing the German lyrics.  The combination reminds me of watching the Grinch celebrate Christmas!

   Words cannot describe the fiasco they call “O Tannenbaum.”  Let me put it this way, a dead evergreen is much more beautiful than this song!

   Like many country artists today, Red Cowboy has taken several notable Christmas carols and destroyed them by writing new songs.  Their song “The Ignorant Snowman” is nothing more than an evil and bloody version of “Frosty The Snowman.”  Where as “Chester’s Nuts” is a disturbed animalistic rendition of the classic song “Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on An Open Fire).” 

   One of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time is “White Christmas.”  I hate to say it, but they destroyed this one too!  “Red Christmas” is a best described as a horrific parody of “White Christmas.”  The original song reminisces of an elegant scene during the holiday season; nonetheless, the band takes this elegant song to a completely new lower level with their vodka soaked vocals.

   Combined amongst the classics you will find several new songs including “There’s An Acorn In My Stocking,” “The Three B’s,” and “Christmas In Kieve;” which was on their last album.  The band also includes a bonus cut with “You’ve Been Naughty,” which they claim is a hit song.   The melody is rudimentary and with a little work and a different band to perform it, the song just may become a new holiday favorite. Red Cowboy’s version, however, lacks the panache to bring the song in to the holiday season.

   Christmas music should be enchanting while bringing the magic of the season into our hearts.  Carols should fill our surroundings with love, light and joy.  Listening to this album is like sitting next to a mall Santa Claus, hearing children screaming while they wait in line.  In other words, this album would make even Scrooge spend money not to listen!

   If this is what Christmas is like in Russia, I’ll stay away! There is not enough eggnog in the world for me to listen to this album again!  The baby Jesus has to be shaking his head as much as I am when it comes to this album! Maybe we can burn this for some heat, as this album is truly a lump of coal! Out of all the gifts we could receive, this one has to be the worst gift in the world!

   For more information on Red Cowboy and AF Records, please visit April Fools Records!

Merry Christmas, y’all!

(This article was printed in the November / December 2018 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)

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