Rusty Tinder
Alchemy Road

An Irresistible Kaleidoscopic Bunch of Emotionally Charged Country Folk-Rock Stompers To Stop You in Your Tracks.

On a day when RMHQ sent me a long list of new releases to sift through, just like a dramatic movie poster for a film you’ve not heard of; Rusty Tinder’s ALCHEMY ROAD artwork stopped me right in my tracks – WOW!
I said yes please simply on the basis this lonesome Cowboy dragging his huge piano along a fantastical path!

Appearances can be deceiving: first up Rusty is not in any way lonesome, with an incredible band of musicians in tow, Alchemy Road is one gigantic sounding album.
Although on the Country side of Americana Folk-Rock, there are so many other influences which makes for one hell of an interesting journey if you get onboard with this LA based singer songwriter.
Second up, there is a real sensitive side to these songs, as this is an artist really tuned in to his place in time and the world, with his reflective and observant lyrics adding so much class and depth to the songs.
It’s incredible to learn this is only Rusty Tinder’s second album, but reading his bio I am noting that he started playing piano age 6 and also has 8 years under his belt playing keys for a Country Rock band Von Cotton. So, this is actually one very seasoned musician heading out solo, oozing maturity with this new bunch of mighty fine catchy songs.

The first 3 tracks are a masterclass of hooking us in to the whole album, Moonlight Kissed launches with it’s layered choral vocals and pacey strumming, and then Mr Tinder’s voice kicks in……rich, twangily powerful, yet connecting and friendly too. The complete deal is an upbeat full sound, with his trademark choppy and driving keys coupled to a buoyant brass section firmly placing it at the Pop end of his Country Road, infectious right from the off as he invites us to share in his musical adventure:

Hop and drive so far away with me
Outrun those negative vibes

Closely followed by Without You, another huge track: a deep bass beat coupled with Rusty’s aforementioned rippling honky-tonk piano with a raucous guitar, all radiating an effortless optimism despite the lyrics being tinged with the sadness of lost love.

And then we are hit with the rather magnificent Tuluhah.
This could easily have made the top slot on another day, simplistic storytelling at its best, building to a splendid hooky chorus, it tells a really interesting tale of reaching out to a former lover, almost begging them to hold it together and hoping that music could be their joint salvation.

No Longer In The Gray slows things down; haunting with melancholic strings, it really highlights Mr Tinder’s emotional side.
He introduces the recurring theme of colour on this album: grey being the sad zone which we need to break away from. It is basically warning us not to walk numbly through life and contains some of my favourite lyrics:

Found a note from Childhood
Be brave and never hide
Inside your sun is burning
Reaching across this plain
New Constellation for all to see ~
No longer in the grey”

Stay continues this mood, fast paced urgency drives this tale of being trapped in a failing “black and grey” relationship, beating himself up about his own inability to leave.
An Interesting angle, taking the blame himself rather than the person making him unhappy.

As I am journeying through this album, it occurs to me that Rusty tinder is not afraid to experiment; Remember Why You’re Here is full of reflections about our short time on Earth, yet musically it has a ‘70’s Folk-Pop feel.
Copper Penny Sun, on the other hand, is truly epic in scale and inspired by the fires in California, containing a dramatic environmental message. It even borders on musical theatre, ah but then I learn he has a background in Opera too.
The cover is making more sense to me now, this really is life-long musical journey he is on and weaving all his past experiences into his songwriter making it a very personal album.

Very tough to choose a Favourite Track as this album has a Greatest Hits stamp all over it with 12 strong songs, but I’ve narrowed it down to the title track Alchemy Road, On Top Of The World and My Name.
Alchemy Road is certainly a stand out track, more Indie Rock in feel and full of fastdrama describing the twists and turns of life on his journey.
On Top Of The World has a slow piano opener, then shows off Tinders’ stunning rich vocal delivery, stripped back but the adding delightful anthemic layers, it would sit proudly with the likes of Crowded House and to me, elevates Rusty’s song-writing to new ever dizzying heights.
By the narrowest of margins My Name gets my top slot, unusually there are two versions on the album, perhaps why it has got completely under my skin.
An endearing message to his son and the desire to leave him a musical legacy.
It’s poignant and touching, after all we know what’s waiting for us all at the end of the road.
It’s heartfelt, dreamlike, and ….Rusty bearing his soul:

When the dirt takes my veins
Will you cry my name
Our creed was strong
The trees grew tall
And we belonged.”

Becoming a dad was a big motivating factor for Rusty stepping into the spotlight and making music of his own and there is no doubt that with Alchemy Road, he is well on the way to leaving a most colourfully glistening musical trail behind him as he carries on his journey.

Released 29th July 2022
Review courtesy Anita Joyce


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