Love Rides A Dark Horse, and so does Gill Landry. After producing a handful of solid albums both as a solo artist and with Old Crow Medicine Show before leaving the group, Landry came out of nowhere with an album that sounds a lot different than anything else he’s produced. It’s a melancholy record that builds to an incredible track that leaves behind the type of hard-won elation and inspiration that only cheering an underdog to victory truly can.
Calling Love Rides A Dark Horse a breakup record is both accurate and inadequate. Drawing from the pain one might expect to experience from a failed engagement, Landry writes from the perspective of someone questioning the factors that ended his relationship on “Berlin.” The song also seems to question whether he’ll ever have the ability to truly understand what exactly happened or even whether a genuine connection even existed. From there the analysis only deepens. Landry spends most of the album breaking up with his prior notion of love and relationships, calling into question whether anything real can emerge from the expectations and pressure associated with the typical courtship.
“Scripted Love” exposes the disappointment that comes along with having such expectations. “Broken Hearts” explores similar ideas while pointing out that part of the formula of a typical relationship is often an unpleasant end. In “Broken Hearts,” which appears earlier on the album, Landry laments having played the role unknowingly and enthusiastically. By “Scripted Love,” he’s refusing to go down that path again. “The Only Game In Town” shows him politely avoiding a relationship built on this shaky foundation. Believe it or not, this is all leading to a happy ending.