The fact that no Turnpike music is played on country radio, and that they were not selling out stadium after stadium before the hiatus began, is really all the proof you need.
However, within the entirety of their stellar musical catalog, some Turnpike songs are just more underrated than others though. I mean, even the casual Turnpike fan (if that’s a thing) knows “Good Lord Lorrie” and “7 & 7.” So with that being said, here are the two most underrated songs on each Turnpike album.
And to set some one simple ground rule, for the sake of this article, songs that are among the band’s top 10 most listened on Spotify have been excluded. Also, since their 2007 Bossier City album isn’t readily available anymore, we didn’t include songs from that as well.
Diamonds & Gasoline (2010)
Perhaps the most underrated in their whole catalog, “1968” has one of the best opening verses in all of country music.
This is Evan Felker’s descriptive lyricism at its finest, and like many of his other lyrics, it paints a picture of an entirely different world that you can imagine perfectly in your mind like you’ve been there before.
“There ain’t a thing in the world to take me back Like a dark-haired girl in a Cadillac On Main Street of an old forgotten town And sunlights shines in fine white lines On weathered stores with open signs They may as well just close ‘em down.”
In this Evan Felker and Mike McClure Co-write, Jimmy is a fast-living Okie who also appears in “The Mercury.” He is the type of guy who never comes back home to see his family or old friends, unless it’s for a funeral.
Goodbye Normal Street (2012)
“Gone Gone Gone”
“And I ran for the hills so you couldn’t kill me But damn you cut close to the bone You can call me a fool you can call me alone Call me gone, gone, gone And this heavy old heart is as steady as stone Call me gone, gone, gone.”
Could “Wrecked” be the aftermath of “Good Lord Lorrie,” or is it just another love-gone-wrong song?
Either way, it’s underrated.
Turnpike Troubadours (2015)
“The Bird Hunters”
If “1968” isn’t the most underrated Turnpike song, “The Bird Hunters” is. Filled with Oklahoma imagery at the hands of Felker’s deft lyricism, the song also includes a reference to the recurring Belgian-made Browning shotgun that is also mentioned in “The Housefire.”
“And I was beginning to deal with it ending The old dog had pointed while a part of me died Then a flutter of feathers, and a shotgun to shoulder And I thought of the Fourth of July She’ll be home on the Fourth of July I bet we’ll dance on the Fourth of July.”
Another tale of the recurring characters Felker has created, in “The Mercury” the narrator observes Lorrie in her wilder days, alongside Jimmy, the James Dean wannabe who also is the focus of “The Funeral.”
The setting of this song is at a real bar and music venue, The Mercury Lounge, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A Long Way From Your Heart (2017)
“Something to Hold on To”
Co-written with Kevin Russel of Shinyribs, this is one of Turnpike’s catchiest songs.
“The Winding Stair Mountain Blues”
A tale of an estranged childhood friend on the loose after attempted murder, “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues” is one of Turnpike’s most chilling stories.
“And you’re somewhere in the Winding Stair Thinking you still got a trick or two And you’re planning out your fight in the lantern light But I don’t see this going well for you No I don’t see this going well for you.”
The Turnpike Troubadours are one of the few bands out there that don’t have a single bad song in their catalog.
Hopefully new songs will be added before too long, but if not, these four albums will do just fine.