If you’re a classic country purist, “Songs My Mama Sang,” from Zephaniah OHora’s debut album, may sound familiar—it borders on an ode to Merle Haggard’s 1968 anthem, “Sing Me Back Home.” In true Bakersfield fashion, the honky-tonk electric that begins the track weaves beneath OHora as he sings about sitting alone at his bedside, thinking about his mama. The Brooklyn-based OHora and his band, The 18 Wheelers, recorded what may be the most classic country album of the past decade, This Highway, which shines with the kind of solid musicianship and songwriting for which country purists pray. Whining pedal steels and tales of heartbreak are softened by the ring of an occasional fiddle. And when OHora gently sings “I’ll pretend that I never lost you” at album’s end, we’re reminded of country’s love of the resurrection, and the beauty it can offer.
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