FRITSCH FEVER: Todd’s latest release, SAWDUST, genuine country
FRITSCH FEVER: Todd’s latest release, Sawdust, genuine country
By Denton Ramsey
Todd Fritsch has got to be the best thing to happen to country music since George Strait.
Fritsch has done it once again with his new album, Sawdust – and then some…
If Fritsch’s latest album doesn’t have you tapping your feet and singing along in no time, check your pulse.
Everything about Sawdust rocks and Todd is by far the best artist in the current country music scene.
Fritsch has proven it with his latest release, and for those who haven’t tuned into this young country star singin’ old country tunes, you’re missin’ out.
Having had the wonderful opportunity of knowing Todd for many years, I can tell you that this guy is the real thing.
From his true to life lyrics to his purely Fritsch voice, Todd’s got it all.
But don’t take it from me alone.
“I met George Strait in 1979 and immediately was impressed with his sincerity and genuine warmth. He always knew exactly who he was,” Country legend Eddy Raven said. “Todd has all those Good Texas Country Boy qualities and the talent to go with it.”
Sawdust’s 17 tracks take the listener on a country tune adventure – and from start to finish, this album is nothing short of phenomenal.
This Fayetteville, Texas cowboy doesn’t skip a beat in his second straight masterpiece.
Then again, having been friends with Todd for years, he’s really had a good four hit albums to date, but that’s a different story we’ll save for a later longneck.
For now, it’s time to grab your cowboy hat and pull on those boots – it’s Fritsch time.
What’s Wrong With Me
Fritsch begins Sawdust with his latest hit single, “What’s Wrong With Me.”
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this cowboy hit.
Just ask baseball ace Roger Clemens, who worked with Todd on the shooting of the “What’s Wrong With Me” video.
“Lots of fun working on the ‘What’s Wrong With Me’ video – it’s a great song,” Clemens said. “Keep an eye out for this ‘rookie’ – he is going places.”
For Todd, “It’s a song that I felt was something different and fresh – and to me, it’s a ‘new’ Nashville type of song that I thought would work on radio.”
And work on the radio it has.
“Twenty minutes the phone rang with votes for Todd’s ‘What’s Wrong With Me’ on the KILT Jukebox Challenge,” KILT Houston’s Leslie T. Travis said. “Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw’s new songs from earlier that week didn’t cause that. Listeners listen and respond when they hear something different from the usual. It’s now my most requested song on the KILT Texas Roadhouse show.”
And if you want Eddy Raven’s opinion on Todd’s latest hit, he’ll give it to you.
“The [‘What’s Wrong With Me’] video will let the rest of the world see what I saw the first time I met Todd and give this working cowboy another leg up,” Raven said.
On we move to song number two…
The Good Lord has to be proud of Todd and company with the second track on Sawdust.
From the down to earth lyrics to the truly Todd harmonies, this track is an instant success.
“Ron Huntsman brought it to us,” Fritsch said. “I can’t believe no one has cut it before. I believe it’s a career song. I think people are gonna be listening to this song years from now – and it will still have the same impact — it just takes your breath away.”
No Part Of
Todd definitely would want no part of anything he discusses in this song.
But the song works, from start to finish.
“I always liked the song and I liked the Cajun feel; we added the accordion,” Fritsch said. “It’s fun to play and it works great live.”
I’ll bet – and I can’t wait to see it played live.
All That’s Left Is You
This song has got to be one of my favorites on the album, although it’s tough to pick out favorites on an album that truly rocks from beginning to end.
This old country tune is bound to be a hit single.
And on top of that, it’s an original.
“One of my favorites – old swing – wanted to cut one – couldn’t find it – so we wrote it,” Fritsch said.
Simple as that.
So This Is Love
This is a track I would call a ‘wedding song’ – and it’s awesome.
Listeners get a real feel for Todd’s genuine voice and inspiration in track number five on Sawdust.
And once again, it’s an original the band wrote.
“We wrote it at the house,” Fritsch said. “It just came out so easy it just felt right – it just pulled itself together.”
Another favorite of mine for sure.
A song the listener will be humming along to within moments of hearing it.
And a dance hall hit as well.
“Loved it’s old country style and that it makes you want to hit the dance floor,” Fritsch said.
If You Don’t Like Country (Time To Leave)
I recall hearing Todd saying something along those lines when my brother and I went to one of his gigs out in the Fayetteville, Texas area.
Some things never change, I guess, and I think that’s a good thing.
And this tune says it all, even if it did come out a little more “rock” than Todd expected.
“It got a little more rockin’ than we meant – more Bocephus than Waylon, which is what I had in mind, but it’s a show opener that [rocks] live,” Fritsch said. “It’s a different side of me, but the message really represents who I am. It came out of a statement I actually made about the third song into a set one night — to let folks know we were really country.”
Life’s A Circle
This song hits truly close to home for Todd, as it’s a song he began writing after the death of a family member.
“I started writing this when my cousin died from cancer, but I didn’t finish it,” Fritsch said. “Doug and I both had the same song title — and on the way to Europe I handed him my pad, and we basically combined the two ideas into one song.”
Well, it worked to perfection.
Once again, this has to be a personal favorite of mine from Sawdust.
“Straight forward country dance song,” Fritsch said. “It was a piano demo – and we sort of modeled it after Charlie Rich’s hit, ‘Behind Closed Doors’.”
Five Mornings Down
I can’t tell you why, but this song brings Grateful Dead to mind every time I hear it.
Not that that’s a bad thing.
Heck, once again this track is another fave.
“Joe Bob had it in his catalog,” Fritsch said. “It’s so Bob Wills – I love it.”
I’d have to agree with you, Todd, 100 percent.
Honky Tonk Talk
I haven’t heard a country singer sing this fast since the release of John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold.”
This song rocks, from it’s kick-start opening to it’s beer-guzzlin’ finish.
“I still haven’t done this one live yet,” Fritsch said. “I laughed so hard in the studio, trying to get this one right – it’s a real tongue-twister. It’s so well written and it really tells the truth. It’s clever.”
A clever, rockin’ tongue-twister.
Bound to be another hit, and I can’t wait to see this one live either.
This is another track in which Eddy Raven and Todd worked together to form a masterpiece.
“Eddy brought it to me,” Fritsch said. “And it worked out great together.”
As brief as Todd’s statement on this song is, I think it says it all.
“Middle of the road country with a cool hook,” Fritsch said. “It’s a good solid song.”
A Walk To Remember
“We were in a band together – me and Randy Sarver, a guitar player who I took lessons from,” Fritsch said. “We started writing together – instead of him teaching me guitar – he was excited and wanted to help me – he really believed in me as raw as I was.
“Randy was working in the band and working doing carpentry, too. He came home one day and told his wife his arm was hurting, and that he wasn’t feeling well. His wife called a few days later and said he’d had a heart attack.
“He’d told me beforehand that he’d finished the song – and wrote the last verse about the church bells and all – and he’d demoed it for me – even though he didn’t really sing — and his wife had it played at his funeral service … and it always inspires me to keep on keepin’ on.”
Every Honky Tonkin’ Hero (Has His Day)
“We really wrote it for the Texas market,” Fritsch said. “When I’m in Texas they call me ‘Nashville’ when I’m in Nashville, they call me ‘Texas.’
“So we thought it’d be cool to do this song with Gary P. [Nunn] and let everyone know exactly who I am. It was meant to be funny, but it still tells the truth – everyone has their 15 minutes of fame.”
First Date For The Last Time
What a ladies man Todd is.
This song just proves it, and so do his comments.
“People respond to this song, and it’s been nuts,” Fritsch said. “I’m just gonna keep it out there – women love it – and we’re just gonna keep it going for all the ladies out there.”
Little Joe The Wrangler
Todd ends Sawdust perfectly.
The last track on the album is also a personal favorite, and one that I know fits Todd to the core.
“I’m a fan of cowboy stuff and it’s my goal to cut one true cowboy campfire song on every album that I do,” Fritsch said. “This song won’t ever be a single, but it really tells people who I am and it comes from my heart.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Todd.
Sawdust brings out all the best in my good friend Todd, and it proves why this country boy is bound to be a country legend.
From it’s rockin’ lyrics to it’s awesome harmonies, I’d recommend Sawdust to anyone that enjoys music in general.
From start to finish, Sawdust is a genuine masterpiece.
Fans can pre-order Todd’s new CD on his website, www.toddfritsch.com and the album is due to hit stores on April 17.
Denton Ramsey is the Managing Editor for the Marlin Democrat. He can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.