In honor of April 20, Dana Deatherage is releasing the track “420 Friendly,” an amusing ode to the ganja. The Joshua resident declares himself “beer-30 ready and 420 friendly” in the uptempo country-Western dancehall ditty with lyrics that make clear Deatherage knows of which he writes. He doesn’t want an excess of stems and seeds in his sack, and he’s keeping an eye on those scales, too.
Don’t weigh the bag — just pisses me off / I want what I want, what I mother-trucking bought
The weed anthem is included on Songwriter, Vol. I, an album Deatherage recorded several months ago in Fort Worth. The collection is filled with well-written folk-country tunes extolling the artist’s loves, pains, hopes, and philosophies in a disarmingly direct and simple manner. His lyrics encourage people to choose to be happy and to appreciate catching the green lights on life’s highway even knowing the inevitable reds are looming. Deatherage’s refreshing willingness to sing joyful lyrics doesn’t mean he can’t wallow in the mournful well. That’s how life and good albums go. This collection’s best moment might be its saddest, “These Days.”
I’ve got my head stuck in the sand / Don’t feel like working for the man these days.
All 12 songs on the album sound personal, specific, and revealing, and with Deatherage’s worn tenor voice and sincere delivery, he comes across like a country-style John Lennon at times. The sound production is refreshingly sparse, although local studio session wizard Milo Deering colors everything beautifully with fills of banjo, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, viola, and steel guitar.
Deatherage makes no concessions for commerciality and seems to simply write from his heart lyrically and melodically. That’s the album’s greatest strength.
“420 Friendly” and other songs from Deatherage are available on Spotify. You’ll be singing along on the chorus by the end:
I roll ’em up tight, I roll ’em up right / Smoke ’em all day, smoke ’em all night
–– Jeff Prince