Ags Connolly is a droll, sardonic country singer from West Oxfordshire whose songs are full of pathos yet delivered with wry humor and grim resignation.
His smooth crooning is not a million miles away from Raul Malo of The Mavericks and, indeed, guest accordionist Michael Guerra is from that very band.
Fiddler Eamon McLoughlin, a Grand Ole Opry staff member, further helps to ensure that the album sounds more like it comes out of Texas than rural England.
Connolly reminds you how well country music does heartbreak and wittily tweaks the break up formula for the album's opener and lead single - I Hope You're Unhappy; an hilariously spiteful tune that has no time for wishing an ex-lover well: "I hope you're unhappy .....I hope you're somewhere you'd rather not be", he sings with deadpan precision.
The title track on this honky-tonking collection is also brilliantly conceived and touching; a song about returning to a club he used to play in and being saddened, though not unduly surprised, to find "nothing stays the way you left it".
Fifteen Years is another song steeped in nostalgia and dwelling on the past which includes the reflection that "the toughest old feelings always survive".
The nine original songs and cover of Loudon Wainwright III's I Suppose are all tales of sadness and longing but Connolly doesn't look for our sympathy. Rather he invites the listener the empathize with the regular trials and tribulations that are part and parcel of living, loving and getting old.
Ags Connolly's website