Tami Neilson: Dynamite! (Southbound)

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Tami Neilson: Dynamite! (Southbound)

Country singer Neilson (originally from Canada) set the bar high on three previous award-winning albums. But this exceptional outing – five songs co-written with Delaney Davidson who also co-produces with Ben Edwards -- confirms her gifts beyond country.

This world-class album is a major statement from an artist at the top of her lyrical and vocal game.

One listen to the breathtakingly sad break-up ballad You Lie – the title ambiguous, the music given ringing and weeping steel guitar by Red McKelvie – and that whole hurtful film unravels before your misty eyes. It's poetry about a cheap cheater sneaky enough to not let lipstick stain his collar and the woman smart enough to recognise the deceit.

So here's Neilson taking you into that cold bed after her one-time husband/lover has been “taking out the trash” and she's lying beside the liar. Her final lines are perfect.

But elsewhere she's a convincing Peggy Lee torch singer on the sultry nightclub blues of Walk Back to Your Arms, and for the glorious ballad Cry Over You she locates herself between Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison. All these originals sound like freshly coined classics.

Co-writer Davidson plays Lee Hazlewood/Johnny Cash to her sweetness on the brooding, train-clack rhythm and string-coloured Running to You, and their Whiskey and Kisses is an adult Willie'n'Emmylou tear-stained barroom dialogue which would enhance the career of any Nashville or Austin singer and songwriter. It's extraordinary.

Neilson and Davidson (on his equally exceptional and acclaimed albums) have proved themselves astute lyric writers previously, and here on Running To You we get the economic, “I spent most of my whole life with a bucket and spade, one to carry things I love, one to bury the things I hate”. And after that there's more.

Country remains Neilson's core (the Western Swing-styled Texas and others) but this is an album with a wide reach (Fifties rock'n'roll on the partytime Come Over and Woo Hoo, with Marlon Williams it's sexy rockabilly-noir on the title track). It delivers one cracker after another.

Neilson inhabits the characters in these compelling and memorable songs. Fun, flashy when it needs to be and delivering beautiful brutal truths about life, love and betrayal.

Dynamite in just under 30 minutes.

Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson wrote about working together for Elsewhere here. There is more on Tami Neilson here, and Delaney Davidson here

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Kev - Mar 31, 2014

Saw Tami & the boys at Mighty Mighty last week. Great show, Tami has a voice & a personality that fills up a room.

David Geary - Mar 31, 2014

Love that Youtube rehearsal. She sounds like the real deal. And I'm listening to Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits in the mini-van. I'm falling back in love with Country Music.

Graham Hooper - Apr 1, 2014

I Fell in Love With Tami Neilsons Voice the first time I Heard her Sing.And have all the Albums she Released. All Previous albums were Recorded in Canada with her Brother and Family around the Kitchen Table.But having seen her Live Shows and Hearing her New songs Like Texas about her First Born Son and seeing her recently on Tour with her Mum and Dad then with The Gunslingers Ball Line Up.I Do Believe That Dynamite Has to Be Her Best Album To Date...Recorded in New Zealand With NZ Musicians /Songwriters.

Duncan - Apr 14, 2014

Terrific album. Loretta would be proud and a bit nervous

Darryll - Apr 19, 2014

Thanks Graham, excellent recommendation. Hope you had fun @ record store day.... GRAHAM REPLIES: Great day thank you. Spent $240 effortlessly then felt I should go home, it was only 10.30 and if I'd stayed longer . . .

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