I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying
Six Shooter Records

A Clever Twist on the Traditional Country Duet Heartbreak Formula

I have, and still play the first two Whitehorse albums; but somewhere afterwards I must have dropped off their radar as I had no idea they had released a further four albums making this one; their seventh.
There’s something absolutely timeless, without ever sounding ‘old fashioned’ about the way Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, not just arrange and record their songs; but the intricate way they intertwine their voices in a way I associate the very best of all time.
An almighty Twang opens the first song If The Loneliness Won’t Kill Me that instantly catches the attention, and sets Whitehorse apart from any perceived modern contemporaries. Then of course there’s the song itself being a whip smart Country Song of the Deluxe variety, not least when Melissa sings,
If the loneliness won’t kill me
Then the good times surely will.

Sadly this song, nor any of the others here will trouble the CMA committee but that’s their loss; not ours.
This immediatly followed by Luke Doucet taking over lead singing duties with the heartbreaking I Might Get Over This (But I Won’t Stop Loving You) which has elements of not just Gram and Emmylou to it; but George and Tammy too, especially the way the song has emotional highs and lows.
I have a Gretchen Peters t-shirt that reads “Sad Songs Make Me Happy” and that is very much the subtext here ….. sad songs for sad people who need to know they aren’t alone.
As I’d expected there are musical surprises around every corner; not least the fast and furious Honky Tonker; Manitoba Bound which features some red hot guitar licks worthy of Albert Lee at his finest; 6 Feet Away also has some incredible guitar playing in it; but the way Melissa and Luke blend their voices like the finest whiskey to sing about the way various ‘lockdowns’ adversely affected lovers around the world; and as the adage goes … “only the strong survived … to love again.
I thought album closer, Lock It Down may follow a similar pandemic path; but thankfully it doesn’t; as it’s Melissa singing about the tattered state of her current relationship in a way I’d normally associate with Loretta or perhaps Laura Cantrell; and when her voice soars on the chorus I swear I get a shiver down my spine each and every time.
While not exactly when you know Melissa and Luke’s joint musical background; none the less Bet The Farm is a clever and articulate take on a traditional Country love song; and my little world is all the better for hearing it; and knowing it will be there whenever I need to hear it.
By now I’m in ‘Favourite Song territory; and it’s as difficult as it comes; simply because at one time or another, every song here could be a Hit Single; apart from now!
Apart from Community Radio around the world I don’t know where you’d hope or expect to hear wonderful Country songs like these … you know; The Real Deal.
But I do have a couple of Favourites from four that somehow manage to stand out from a very good pack.
The way Melissa sings the beautiful Leave Me As You Found Me, is bound to melt the coldest of hearts; and the quirky Division 5 has Luke filing a ‘missing person’ report with the Mounties years after his lover has left and moved to a town not far away; but he’s too afraid to visit …. so wants the cops to do the heavy lifting for him. Certainly not the type of song I associate with Whitehorse and its constituent parts; but a fun heartbreaker that makes me smile every time I hear it.
I very nearly selected the Patsy Cline nod; Sanity TN, mostly because of the sublime guitar interludes but Melissa’s delivery choked me up earlier; so it’s up there with the best and a last minute contender.
Then, there is the majestic Leave Me As You Found Me; which has Melissa at her very very best not just tugging at our heartstrings but squeezing every single corpuscle until we can hardly breathe,
Don’t leave your rubbish, your baggage behind
Don’t leave these thoughts in the back of my mind
Dust off my heart, won’t you please just be kind
And let me let you go,”
and of course; not forgetting the way that pedal-steel haunting cuts through the pathos like an icy wind.
So, we have what can only be described as a contemporary twist on the traditional Country Duet formula; and it’s absolutely perfect listening for the times we find ourselves in.

Released 13th January 2023


One thought on “Whitehorse I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING

  1. I love Whitehorse. This album blew me away. Knowing how adept they are at all the latest looping pedal doo-hickery then hearing this album was just like “Yeah, don’t forget, we can do this too.” The playing and writing are both top notch. Definitely raising the bar. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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