Doc Carter — High Tide For Low Times
A late entry for a good set. The music is a mix of well-performed & arranged songs with eclectic folk, country, rock & a little pop in Doc’s bag of songs. The first full-length LP from Corpus Christi musician Doc Carter. Like many critically acclaimed artists — still relatively under the radar. The first is the harmonica-driven “Heading West,” composed in a basic structure, with a voice too young to have a moniker like Doc. But the vocals aren’t mainstream sugar – there’s some sand in this boy’s boots.
“Taking It Easy,” has a good intro. Typical country title with a nice bass-heavy foundation, crisp snare snap in the rafters over Doc’s tepid vocal. But this is different, creative, with good lyrics, predatory melody with a fresh intuitive groove. Musicianship sparkles & never goes over the speed limit.
Harmonica returns on “Stayed For Your Love,” guitar-flange bending notes nicely in a ballad that finds Doc in fine voice. The song’s like a monochrome image with colorful strokes added to enhance its melody. Reflective, moody & has a nostalgic presence. I liked the melody so much & found myself sliding into Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi.” At times strongly reminiscent.
Borderline Jimmy Dale Gilmore in tradition vocally, the title cut High Tide For Low Times (Dropped Aug 13–Blowing Sand Records) takes another route from the previous 3. More alt-country, outlaw with a spooky touch to the guitar. The beat’s upfront, & good lyrics. It could’ve used a little more soul in the vocal but — it’s a good performance.
The next 3 are missteps. Nothing transcending just basic country condiments with the overall sound well-recorded. These are songs that 30 years ago would’ve been considered filler or flipsides. Not bad tunes, just not up to the level of earlier ones. No matter cut 8 “Open Your Mind,” is on target. Nice guitar riff rocker, high octane musical fuel in the tradition of Rocky Burnette in the 70s (“Tired of Toein’ the Line”). The song has a touch of retro-grease under tight melodic screws. You’ll hum this going to the grocery store.
“Fallen Angel,” is good. Sung with Russ Tolman intonation (“Marla Jane”) but still in a Gilmore tone. “Wrapped Around You,” is a plain-wrapped classic. Perfect chart song.
“Sunshine,” (remastered) is a beautiful piano-driven 60s style vocal. Excellent. Light-country genre. Bobby Vinton crossed with Johnny Tillotson (“Talk Back Trembling’ Lips”). They had hits with songs like this.
“Pour the Wine,” is in a deep tone with a good arrangement. Country’s late Jim Reeves’ baritone would’ve covered it well.
On this 57-minute CD: Doc (vocals), Jeremy Long (keyboards/pedal steel), David Leech (percussion) & produced by Matt Grundy (all other instruments).
Doc Carter’s a good artist with interesting songs & many memorable melodies.
The CD: Available @ AppleMusic. https://www.facebook.com/doccartermu/