Charlie Treat – The Comet
Nothing pleases more than an artist who is diversified, creative, imaginative & has just enough loose musical screws to make him stand out as original.
Charlie Treat, with a trembly peculiar voice, used to his advantage on The Comet (Drops March 26–Independent) lets loose on cut 1 “I Ain’t Gonna Be the One to Do It,” with Dixieland torque, upbeat Dr. John stabs, Willie Nelson vocal intonation, 60s instinctive melodies, held together with sparkling arrangements.
Treat unleashes a generous amount of barroom rock & roll, gospel harmonies, pop suggestions, spiced with Americana-Roots traditions. The songs are engaging with lots of interesting sounds, & though Treat was raised on a New England farm there isn’t much New England to these frenetic rhythms.
It’s New Orleans in flavor with anvil strikes of wild nights, rocky relationships, strange truths, all merged into a lively mix of crooner vocals, pop/rock vocalese, backwoods folksinger ash & smoke. Even the more mediocre songs have something to recommend them. Treat is quite a craftsman with his manner of self-expression.
“Candi,” & “Drive My Blues Band,” explore a more Joe Henry style vocally. By cut 5 “Steam Shovel,” Charlie is clever utilizing old styles with new & adds fiddle.
“Soul Owner of My Own Heart,” has nice horns & exuberance, all well-arranged with a cool tempo somewhat in the tradition of a 1974 obscure artist known for this style – the wonderfully talented Sam Leno (“Ordinary Man”). The musicianship is stellar throughout these 12-songs that clock in at a reasonable 41-minutes.
Toward the finale, there are some rockers with “Dancing at the Bar (The Quarantine Song),” & “Rain Again.” The lyrics are consistently good, & it’s definitely a solid showcase. It’s Treat’s quirky vocals that are attractive. He doesn’t sound much like anyone else.
Recorded in Nashville with producer by Jesse Thompson (electric guitar/acoustic guitar, vocals) — the CD features Treat (harmonica/guitar/piano/organ), Justin Turner (drums/piano/vocal), Quileo “Q” White (bass, organ, synth), Aaron Marefka (piano), Pierce Dukes (electric guitar), Larry Hanson (horns/Wurlitzer/organ/electric guitar), Carson Cody (synth/organ), Amber Woodhouse, Amanda Broadway (background vocals) with Oliver Bates Craven (fiddle/vocal), Cy Winstanley (slide guitar/vocals), & Matthew Burgess (percussion).
Singing like a preacher man with a sermon & harmonica “Drink with Me,” is a hot little soulful tune with punchy guitar, riveting backup singers & just a nice groove.
Out of 12 songs I kept coming back to 8. This is a charming, energetic, stylistically produced a set of songs. In the old days, reviewers used to say just 2 words for albums like this: highly recommended.
That sums it up.
The CD will be available at Amazon & http://charlietreat.com/