Bambi Lee Savage is an artist who assisted as an audio engineer on Achtung Baby and The Good Son by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. One of her songs was featured on the Sling Blade soundtrack. Berlin-Nashville Express is her first album since 2012, and it doesn’t take long to find out that this album was worth the wait.
The album begins with “Honey”. This is an upbeat love song in which two things really stand out. The first is Savage’s voice, which has a bit of a rasp to it and is similar in tone to Kim Lenz. The other thing that comes to the forefront is the tone of the guitar, which is tuned low and has a similar sound to Dwight Yoakam.
Savage also shows that she can do a pretty good sad song. “This Blue Heart” is a lament that features some good guitar picking and the lyrics “no matter where I go, this blue heart follows me.” “I Can’t Count on My Man” is another good sad song about another familiar theme in music. The bass line provided by Mick Harvey makes it good for dancing. It’s easy to imagine ladies dancing together and singing along about an unreliable man.
Songs about drinking are nothing new, and Savage has a good one in “Demon Alcohol”. This features some good honky-tonk piano and a shuffling beat provided by Pete Abbott that will get you moving. Savage sings the praise of alcohol by saying, among other things, “if I can’t walk, I can always crawl to you.”
When you see the title “Drinker of Gin”, you might think that another drinking song is in store. Well, you’d be partially correct. This is about a drinker who hits rock bottom and finds redemption in God. It’s also about as rocking a gospel song as you’ll ever hear. The bass line of Tim Marks gives the song a rumbling sound. Suffice it to day that even though it’s a gospel song, it’s probably not your parents’ gospel music. The next song on the album is another gospel song called “Walk in Love”. In it, she sings about some of the teachings of Jesus, including that they “will know you by your love.” All of that is done to an uptempo beat, some good pedal steel by Spencer Cullum, and an organ part that wouldn’t sound out of place in a church.
This is a mellow album with a variety of country influences. Savage has a way of writing very pretty songs, no matter what it sounds like. Berlin-Nashville Express will be released on May 10. Order your copy here.