Does Rusty Ford take off his bolo tie at the end of the day? My Truck, My Dog, and You is a hard album to read, and much more so as a debut effort. Deeply entrenched in the country and western genre, the real complexity lies in whether or not Ford is taking himself seriously.
Song titles and their related content—like quasi-sexy “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body (Except Mine)”—are the kind of mouthfuls that make for good Simpsons jokes, but each of the 11 tracks on …And You are played so sincerely it’s hard to tell just how much Ford is playing with his audience. Flourishes of lap steel, call-and-response vocals (“If The Phone Don’t Ring, You’ll Know It’s Me”) and rollicking bass work is a small example of the instrumentation delicately, and classically, arranged atop simple guitar chords and Ford’s pebbly voice. There aren’t too many distinctions to look for that might place this album as a product of Vancouver circa now over ’70s Nashville, and whether that’s a bad thing or not depends on the listener.
Ultimately, I couldn’t write a country joke better than Rusty Ford’s lyrics, but that doesn’t mean My Truck, My Dog, and You should be dismissed. If Ford is poignantly aware of country’s history as the brunt of musical puns, or if he’s blissfully oblivious to it, he’s not telling, and neither is his record.