Yelawolf – “Trial By Fire” Album Review

Yelawolf – “Trial By Fire” (Slumerican, Shady Records, and Interscope Records)
By: Tom Hanno


Yelawolf has released a new album, called Trial by Fire, and it is available through Slumerican, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. Known for his mix of hip hop, country, southern rock, gospel, and assorted other genres, and this new release follows that same formula. Yelawolf employed the use of his touring DJ (DJ Clever), a guitarist known as Bones Owens, and Lyrnrd Skynyrd keyboardist, Peter Keys, for the writing and recording of this release. In July of 2017 I was lucky enough to see Yelawolf’s set on the Krockathon in Syracuse, NY, and that concert set the hook deeper, and I have looked forward to this new album ever since.

“Shadows”, which was released as a single, features Joshua Hadley, and is my choice for top track here. Joshua lends a Johnny Cash-style vocal part for the chorus, which is the first vocal part heard here, and when the verse kicks in, it is with a somber flow of lyrical story telling. Yelawolf told Genius that “This song is about becoming your childhood fear. A criminal”. This is a catchy, well-written song, and the lyrical content is thought provoking, with its almost cautionary tale style of wording.

“Get Mine” is another track that stands apart from the rest, and it features Kid Rock. Personally, this is the best Kid Rock has sounded in years, and his voice has the old school edge that helped him climb the ladder of success, reaching the heights of popularity that he has been able to achieve. This song is another very catchy, well written, and powerful track, with its message of working to get what you want, on your own, because you can’t depend on anyone else to do it for you. Case in point being the second half of the chorus, “So you get yours and I’ll get mine, You get yours and I’ll get mine, You get yours and I’ll get mine, You get yours and I’ll get mine”.

A close second for my top track is “Do for Love”, which has an extremely memorable chorus, and is a mix of genres in terms of the music. In the verses we get a cool southern rock styled guitar, and the chorus is more of hip hop/rock sound; the combination of the genres is really pleasing to the ear. Lyrically this song is about what parents will do, in order to care for their families, be it legal or not. This track is an example of what I love about Yelawolfs music, he sings about real life problems, while not holding back on the words he chooses, and tackling topics that may be viewed as taboo in the eyes of society.

“Daylight” is another excellent number on Trial by Fire, with its bluesy guitar part and Yelawolf’s vocal flow, this one is just as memorable as any of the other tracks we have discussed in this review. This track also has the distinction of being the leadoff single, and deals with the heavy drinking that has previously made its way into other tracks that he has written. From the Genius site, “He has admitted to be an alcoholic before: “I can’t deal with sober. It just sucks. I’m not a role model. I don’t expect people to watch this or parents to watch this and go buy my album because I am a role model. I’m not that guy. I’m just doing me, and if I wanna drink I’m gonna drink. If I wanna party, I’m gonna party. That’s it. Drinking is my vice. When I’m done working, I’m gonna have a drink, that’s what I’m gonna do.”; I love his honesty, and the fact that he uses it in his music.

Trial by Fire is a fantastic album, and, even with its hour long run time, never does it seem excessive, or too long. I recommend that fans of Yelawolf grab this album, and for those of you that are unacquainted with his music, this is a great place to start your listening of him. This release is available now, so do yourselves a favor and go grab a copy in your preferred format; it is now available anywhere that good music is sold!

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