About Gary Alton Russell

While occasionally engaging in the frivolous, I prefer to spend my time engaging in pursuits that enrich my life and the lives of others.

Ride All American Boy

I was once a scared little boy, listening to Glad to be Gay at the public library, with headphones, afraid someone would hear.

Now I listen without fear to Steve Grand’s All American Boy.

cover

I still remember the sting of shame; of being too afraid to ask a boy out. Steve’s lyrics are a refreshing breeze of liberation and pride.

We are the Night is a dance anthem for queers:

So for every boy, and every girl
No matter who you love
And for all my trans brothers
and sisters
Of every race, in every place
around this globe
It’s our time
We will rise

That’s not the only sweet spot.

From the wistful Say You Love Me:

If he only knew what I’d do to be
The rain on his coat, those keys that
he holds

To the nostalgic Back to California:

Do you remember summer nights?
Out in the parking lot?
Checkin out those seniors?
Man those drum-line boys looked hot

All American Boy is so thrilling that I have had the album on repeat for weeks.

Say You Love Me isn’t the only song with romantic lyrics.

Red, White and Blue:

Be my shield, I will be your soldier

All-American Boy:

I’m gonna wrestle you outta them clothes
Leave that beautiful body exposed
And you can have my heart and my soul and my body . . .
Oh be mine!

Stay:

Stay with me all summer
Stay with me under the covers
Stay with me
Be my lover

Next to Me:

I want you out of those clothes
And down on your knees like you’re dyin to
praise the good Lord for making you so
damn beautiful

Time:

Pretending to give a damn
About coaches and quarterbacks
With your head in my lap
Now who could blame me for that

Soakin Wet is gloriously lustful:

Got that white t-shirt, clingin to your
chest

The album isn’t all hearts and flowers. Steve sings about heartbreak with lyrics like these.

Lovin Again:

And now he’s holding me like it’s
the end
Makes me wonder, “Was this all pretend?”
This just might keep me, this just might keep me from
lovin again

Better Off:

But you left no refuge here now for the
dark nights
And the miles and miles of bars
Don’t blame yourself
You didn’t kill this thing alone

Listeners focused on the part about fruity appletinis being a Whiskey Crime might miss the song’s sobering nod to liquid courage:

Whiskey, whiskey make me brave
Oh the things that you get me to say
They tell me I’m just not okay
But we’re just havin fun
The way you keep me comin undone

Attempting to run from the past, and oneself, is captured in the song Run:

I’ve shuddered at the pain I’ve caused
I crossed that line, no good at lies
I looked the devil in the eyes
So I run

Songs about loneliness and heartache can be maudlin, but not in Steve’s skilled hands. Somehow I don’t feel depressed when I listen to these songs. Instead of feeling the urge to drink, I want to lie back and think.

The title song is a bit different from the video. The pause after the kiss in the video is missing from the record.

Duran Duran’s What Happens Tomorrow had a cool middle section that’s on the official concert bootlegs but not on the Astronaut album. It took some adjustment, but I can appreciate the album version. At least I have the alternate version on the live albums.

With All-American Boy, the album version has a fantastic instrumental that fits perfectly.

A mix of rock, country, and dance; of nostalgia, heartbreak and romance, All American Boy is a ride that should be experienced repeatedly.

Steve Grand - All-American Boy - cover_back