Nashvillains – Tumbling Down
Despite a detour into rap done with taste on “Standing In the Fire,” this band has a “sound” that’s bass-heavy on a wave of a cello. They come to their music differently than the average spaghetti-western type rock band such as The Brandos or The Unforgiven who are more dramatic, highly commercialized & don’t sound like Nashvillains.
Nashvillains have an understated dark bottom that’s soul-stirring & atmospheric. This work is considered a dark cinematic country concept LP & I agree. They maintain a resonant vocalizing style that was the forte of bottom-heavy blasters like Big Back 40 (“Blood”), Omar & the Howlers (“Hard Times In the Land of Plenty”), who are more country AC-DC, & Hege IV (“Burial Ground of the Broken Hearted) also known as George Hamilton V.
Nashvillains are Troy Johnson (lead vocals/acoustic guitar/keyboards/BGV), Scott Lindsey (BGV), & Brett Boyett (producer/acoustic guitar/BGV/Banjo/Dobro/Mandolin/Electric Guitar/Bass/Keys/Programming/Synth).
The 9-cut debut was composed by the trio. Tumbling Down (Fate Entertainment– Drops March 4) & has a visual narrative in its lyrics. The concept is about a man who tries to rebuild his life after living through the consequences of many bad decisions. This isn’t outlaw country, alt-country, or traditional country it’s noir country. Dark-country scenarios & a Fellini-type visual spaciousness. A compelling listen.
There are many songs but little filler, & it’s all well-thought-out & executed. Unlike many artists laying down tracks in 2022 Nashvillains have a commanding assertive vocalist, with a deep tone & definitely an attitude in the showcase. The title cut is arranged with sensitivity & mature songwriting. Their work is far more effective on their fiery & expressive tunes than their balladry. Troy’s vocals are exceptional; however, they don’t have that Jay Black near-operatic fullness & “Bonita,” falls short of a modern-day “Cara Mia.” It’s still a likable song & A for effort.
“There To Catch Me,” is representative of the group’s messaging. This is a favorite. Excellent lyrics & music. Well-sung, wonderfully played & quite an impressive composition. The cello captures sufficient sadness between the words.
“Don’t Let Me Hang,” has a dense melody & at the start, an eerie whistler almost catches the inventive melodic whistling on the classic “Man From China,” by Vivabeat. As dark as the tune is laid out it has a plaintive pulse & ambiance.
Supporters: Ilya Toshinsky (acoustic/electric/resonator), Chris Tedesco (horns), Larissa Maestro (cello), Tom Bukovac (guitar), Travis Vance, Sean Hurley (bass), Victor Indrizzo & Evan Hutchings (drums), with Will Champlin (synth/programming), Billy Nobel (keys) & rap by Big Smo.
The CD layout is an attractive gloss varnished package with great artwork. These guys are highly imaginative.
Color photo: Annie Noelker. The 33-minute CD @ https://www.nashvillainsband.com/