Hell Yes! They still make Country Music like they used to!
Even though I’d not heard of Audrey Auld I would have bought this album on the strength of the cover alone; and thankfully Audrey Auld certainly puts the Honky into the TONK, which is spelled out in neon lights.
The album opens with an old-school Country duet before Audrey takes the lead on a 90mph foot-tapper, Bound For Glory that wouldn’t have been out of place on any of the Classic Dolly and Porter albums that defined a generation in the 1960’s.
Many of the best Americana albums of the last 10 years have been made by Canadian and European acts and here we have an Australian singer-songwriter giving Nashville what the people want – classic Country songs with melodies, tunes and stories backed by guitars, a mandolin, a banjo and a pedal-steel.
The cheeky and well crafted Drinking Problem is a song that could easily have been sung by Kitty Wells; but sounds as fresh as a daisy today and goes to show what a clever songwriter Audrey Auld is as she pays homage to the music she adores.
Nashville #1 could only have been written by an outsider looking in on the minutiae of a town that they have fallen in love with; as a born and bred local would have missed too many things lurking in the shadows. The heart-achingly beautiful Nashville #2 takes a different route and tells an all too familiar tale of a young woman struggling to make her mark in the recesses of the city that can make and then break dreams.
While Kitty Wells casts a shadow over several songs; the fun song; Your Wife is pure Jeannie C Riley or Bobbie Gentry as it talks about a ‘wife’ who lives life to the full and becomes the talk of the town; smoking, drinking and dancing to Rock and Roll; much to the annoyance of a mother of a teenage son who she was having ‘way too much fun with.’ Perhaps many music fans will have moved on from this style of Country music; but I just adore songs like this; regardless of when they were recorded.
Lonely Town and Sweet Alcohol are both exactly what you would expect from titles like that on an album like this and deserve a much wider audience than what a self-released album will ever achieve.
Not everything works perfectly with the final track Bury Me At Walmart not being quite as funny as it thinks it is and the Australian slang expression Rack Off! May be fun when played live; but sticks out here like a sore thumb here.
All in all TONK is a great album with my favourite artwork of the year so far and Audrey Auld’s voice and songwriting skills are talents to behold in a very shallow musical world.
#Released October 7th
Reckless Record RECK014