Templeton Thompson – Get Back Up
Some artists sing well, play music good & perform with excitement. But to listen to someone who has both country soul & spirit in her voice – it’s magical. Yes, there’s a pinch of Reba McIntyre & Dolly Parton that are evident in the attractive Templeton Thompson’s soprano, but she’s an original.
On “Recover,” the first outing is optimistic. Her power never overwhelms what the song conveys. Texas-born Templeton has interesting songs. What she needs to tip the scales beyond just great vocals is a provocative song or 2. A challenging mix of controversy & mystery. Bobbie Gentry did it with “Ode To Billie Joe” & Randy Newman did it with “Short People.”
The typical country-inspired subjects, lines, & rhymes — the big hats, boozy drinking truck driving good ole boys in tight jeans & scuffed boots. Not because it’s bad, it’s a spent subject. Templeton’s not guilty of this. Her songs are accomplished in a clever consistent way.
“In This Rodeo,” a sugar-coated country song dipped in Shania Twain is a commercial dab. I like Ms. Thompson but I’m old school. What perks up my ears is how much of a risk is taken to get a message & style across. A song doesn’t have to be suggestive – just thought-provoking.
Get Back Up (Drops April 22–Reve Records) features 14-well decorated tunes. “Don’t Throw Me Away,” is close to the tonality of Emmylou Harris. It shows teeth & the vocals are expressive. The singing is good & well-produced. The musicians are all proficient.
“Unbranded,” is fairly basic but made with a clever hand, good lyrics & sensibility. What’s to Ms. Thompson’s credit is her not following the pop-country recipe prevalent today. She’s well within the lines of tradition & she adds color. “I Will Find You,” isn’t entirely country but for 2022 the structure’s strong in an old-fashioned style. Similar to Diane Renay (“Navy Blue”), Sue Thompson (“Paper Tiger”) & Sandy Posey (“Single Girl,” “I Take It Back”). It has the dynamics to chart.
Finally, a country song totally original comes as “Dark Horses & Long Shots,” which channels excellent country-operatic qualities. Templeton doesn’t explore anything country music hasn’t provided before. She does bring to the genre a memory-jogging wake-up call as to how vintage Americana made all that was good about country music & still is.
“Remember You Happy,” closes with poignancy & an earlier song “Ride a Wide Circle” was a nice touch with guest vocals by Michael Martin Murphey.
Musicians: Producers — both Sam Gay (acoustic, electric, lap steel guitars, bass, drums, percussion, mandolin, dobro, banjo, pianos, organ, keys, programming, bv) & Rod McCormack (6 & 12 string acoustic, electric & tenor guitars, banjo, dobro, piano, organ, keys, strings, Papoose, percussion, programming & bv). With Gina Jeffreys & Sally Barris (backing vocals), John Gardner (drums), James Gillard & Jon Putnam (bass), Cliff Berlik (electric piano, Hammond Organ) & Idaflower (violin).
The CD is available @ https://templetonthompson.com/home