No Evil NER 003
A Rare Americana Pearl of a Record.
Wild Ponies are Doug and Telisha Williams and RADIANT is their second album, following warm on the heels of Things That Used To Shine in 2013.
Inundated as I am with discs these days it can be difficult to choose what order to review albums and indeed which to review at all; and my reasons can vary dramatically, often based on the cover artwork. That wasn’t the case here, as the CD cover bares no resemblance whatsoever to the musical jewels that lie within. It was Telisha’s deep, riveting and dare I say it…..sexy voice on opening song Born With a Broken Heart that instantly won my affection the day I received it.
Subtly crashing guitars and a voice that would melt gold combine with a heartbreaking story on that opening track in a way I haven’t heard since Lucinda’s heydays with Car Wheels and World Without Tears. Smouldering only begins to cover the sound.
It’s a similar and just as wonderful feeling with The Night We Never Met, which could be one of the saddest love songs you will ever hear; but one the ‘romantics’ among us will come back to time and time again around midnight on a Friday or Saturday when the alcohol is just taking its toll.
‘Fragile’ is one way to describe some of the songs here; especially Telisha’s vocal delivery, but Doug’s guitar playing just as often stings like the saltiest of tears….take a listen to Home Is Where The Road Goes and/or Tower and The Wheel to get my drift. That latter song is desperate to find a home on a Michael Connelly Harry Bosch film soundtrack ASAP.
How would you describe a song with the title Graveyard Train? Me? It’s a cool slice of Country Twang set to a Southern Gothic story and it’s a little bit excellent too.
If you listen carefully to Unplug The Machine you can tell me what it reminds you of; cos my mind is a blank. But this shout-along populist political rant will be perfect for the back end of a concert and have everyone with a heart and a brain punching the air as they join in with the chorus.
Doug really, really shines as the guitarist here but also gets to join in on the bittersweet duet Love is Not a Sin which closes the album; but he also manages to provide me with a dilemma when it comes to ‘favourite song’ because Telisha should get that award for the wonderful title song Radiant; when her voice is just that…radiant; but the subject matter and the way Doug delivers it on Mom and Pop will touch and break the hearts of most people who hear the song.
Taking a bog-standard Country format Doug tells the tale of a man closing the family business which first opened in 1944 for the very last time; and the shame in his voice is there for all to hear. But the story will resonate with workers and business owners all around the world who haven’t managed to keep up with the ever advancing world of the Corporations who are taking over our lives.
Apart from Telisha’s delicious voice her bass playing compliments Doug’s guitar like a shadow; but this album wouldn’t be half as good without Megan Jane’s rhythmic and tight drumming and the legendary Fats Kaplin on Steel guitar.
If you like your Americana with extraordinary quality, style, vexation and enough Twang to stun an elephant this is the album for you.
Released US June 13th 2016
Released UK June 24th 2016