David Jameson – Tall Dark Pines
This is an interesting independent issue. It offers nothing new or innovative, but David Jameson has a strong salubrious country voice on his debut LP. His compositions are accessible with good lyrics, “the devil wears a suit and tie.” Simple, direct, expressive. The instrumentation isn’t over-powering. On “25 To Life,” it features throughout the CD Tripp Bratton (Percussion), multi-instrumentalist Tom Hnatow (steel, bass, acoustic & lead guitar/Wurlitzer).
Tall Dark Pines (Drops Jan 27–Independent) covers some unorthodox subjects (which makes it interesting) like “Sherman’s March.” It plods a little but is well-rendered. The first 3 tunes are consistent & seem structured in the same realm. The storytelling’s well-done but Jameson needs some signature instrumentation to diversify each track between the other. “Tall Dark Pines,” has nice dobro.
At the outset songs seldom pick up in tempo. Jameson doesn’t use effective vocal inflection & sways slightly between monotone & a mixed bag of narratives that are more spoken than sung. But this doesn’t suggest inferior material. Far from it. Jameson applies what he knows adeptly & never oversteps his bounds. Much is done tastefully within its limitations. He’s not Elvis, he’s not Garth Brooks.
It’s the pacing that drags at times. A faster song, an upbeat song – like his “Ballin’ the Jack,” is a good rollicking workout. The performance is energetic & needs to be placed after 2 ballads to pick up the slack.
Jameson hasn’t developed a distinctive country voice. He doesn’t have the finesse of Buck Owens, Sonny James, Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings. No matter…his tunes have value. A faster tune between ballads would improve the CD’s pacing.
The lyrics/music are composed with care & there’s very little showboating. Musicians play what’s necessary & beautifully. “East of Eden,” is impressive. “Family Bible,” is performed in a vintage country style with a touch of John Prine intonation. If David’s voice was richer, deeper this would be mindful of the late Jim Reeves. The songs soak slow & this one has a steady drumbeat that drives it nicely.
The CD was produced by Duane Lundy (piano/synths). “Gone Like the Wind,” is another winner — a far more upbeat melody & it showcases excellent musicianship by multi-instrumentalist Hnatow — banjo, acoustics, dobro, steel guitar. All recorded with expertise. Jameson saved most of his bouncier tunes for the finale.
The 9-songs though ordinary have occasional additives that allow each its own identity. The Townes van Zandt-type “Eye For An Eye,” is a slow, somewhat maudlin ballad with a bittersweet beauty. It’s my second favorite. A far better vocal comes on “One Last Lullaby.” David’s tonality is more authoritative. A good sound for him.
This collection suggests that a great country song doesn’t have to be candy-coated or consistently commercial. Not all will penetrate an ear with immediacy – but many of David’s have potency & Jameson’s songs are loaded with sensitivity.
Image courtesy: Bandcamp & Jameson’s website. The 30-minute CD — available @ https://www.davidjamesonmusic.com/music