Album Review of
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Written by Joe Ross
April 20, 2015 - 12:00am EDT
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If you know what's best for you on a Saturday night, then you'll pick up a copy of "Horseshoes & Hand Grenades," for a driving set of Summar's rockin' country music. Actually, he calls it "farm rock," a convergence of Chuck Berry and George Jones. Full of grit, Trent incorporates strong rhythmic intensity as the foundation for his striking stories and just plain ol' fun rowdiness. The elements all lend perfectly to our listening amusement. They hit the ground with a steady gallop from the first song to the last, even with the brief eccentric punk/grunge moments in "He Stopped Loving Her Today" that will either get you frowning or smiling depending on how open-minded you are to the boys having a little fun with the country classic. 

I haven't heard Summar's earlier albums but understand that they brought plenty of airplay, gig and tour offers. Summar landed him a showcase on the Grand Ole Opry. Produced by Rand Bishop, "Horseshoes & Hand Grenades" further indulges us with some eclectic alt-country instrumentalists and background vocalists. Remember the Ozark Mountain Daredevils with their blend of country rock, bluegrass, and southern boogie? Bassman/vocalist Michael "Supe" Granda was a founding member of that group. And the 1980s Atlanta-based Georgia Satellites with their Stones-like guitar grunge? Guitarist/vocalist Dan Baird was a key member of that enjoyable band. Steel guitarist Gary Morse is a regular with Brooks & Dunn. Other experienced musicians in The New Row Mob include Dave Kennedy (drums), Ken McMahan (guitar), and a host of others who appear to a lesser degree on the CD. Mike Webb's piano and B-3 organ are noteworthy. 

Besides those collaborations with other Nashville-based writers, a number of the musicians on the album co-wrote many of these songs with Summar. And you may have already heard some of the songs covered by others like Billy Currington ("She Knows What to Do With a Saturday Night"), Gary Allan ("Guys Like Me"), and Jack Ingram ("Love You"). That's a feather is Summar's cap for other up-and-coming singers to acknowledge the sturdiness of Trent's material. Without being too disparaging, I found the similarity of the beat in a few of the songs to create a modicum of banality. But, for the most part, the set progresses as a successful, raucous journey from beginning to end.

Reminiscent of the Bakersfield sound, the country rock-infused groove and clever lines convey some deliriously fun messages. Some other catchy hooks, and even some rustic bluegrass flavorings, are found in songs like "Hayride," "Pink John Deere," and "Girl From Tennessee." Hitting you like an express train, "Louisiana Nashville Line" is full of steam. In "Guys Like Me," Trent sings "It's hard to find a place to play my guitar, they're trying to put an end to guys like me" and "I'd like to find a place where love surrounds me ... where you can land your dreams on solid ground." I'd say this album will fetch him plenty of fame and gigs. Trent's well on his way to landing his golden dreams on solid ground. (Joe Ross)