Parker Twomey – All This Life
This country-flavored set is graced by an ordinary vocal but ordinary vocal that possesses homespun sincerity loaded with country colors framed in a Texas folky frame. Parker actually does a fine job on this 11-cut CD with splashes of harmonica alongside fiddles. Nice touch. The melodies are low-brow dramatic — nothing overblown. Pleasant story songs with good tonality. The lead-off track “All This Life,” is easy listening with little that’s sweet, corny, or winsome.
Cut 2 “Counting Down the Days,” has a steady thunderous Matt Pence beat with a “ghost riders in the sky” type guitar & backup vocals hovering over it all. This is a well-conceived set. I’m finding Parker Twomey entertaining.
Produced by Beau Bedford (piano/mellotron/string arrangements) All This Life (Drops July 15-Independent) has tunes that are appealingly individualistic. Cleverly written to reflect on the tradition of country music but not linger on its sometimes silliness & slickness. There’s a rugged feel to the polished production that makes even the most non-commercial tune sound mainstream. There’s a quiet blending in Dallas, Texas’ Parker’s material. He has good-natured radiating styles borrowed from Steve Earle, Gene Ryder, Kris Kristofferson & at times even the late John Prine. All pre-dating Parker’s listening habits.
“I’ll Be Your Man,” sounds country-cliched but it’s not. Parker (vocals/piano/harmonica/acoustic guitar/background vocals/string arrangements) guides it through a lyrically charming melody with no sugar coating. “Baby It’s a Harder Way Now,” has excellent musicianship. A rather simple song but the performance & showcase sparkle. It’s well-thought-out. Followed by the catchy guitar riff to “Little Stars.” A little more elementary but enriched by the manner it’s arranged & performed. Playful, with an expressive technique.
“Til’ The Morning Comes,” is a fine tune. But — too mindful of Buddy & Judy Miller’s “Chalk” hook. That’s fine, if the Millers influence young men like Parker it can only be a good thing. On some songs, Mr. Twomey tries to render them with an old-fashioned traditional storytelling resonance (“What Good Is Running?”). Maybe it’s his youthful voice but this isn’t the way to go. Just yet. Eventually, yes.
I can hear the potential in his abilities, but he doesn’t have the voice of experience. With luck, there’s no reason Parker shouldn’t be a major draw. He has all the gifts & musical enthusiasm too. “Loving You Too Easy,” is fabulous. This is Parker Twomey. This is where all the pieces of the musical puzzle are together. Here Parker doesn’t sound like anyone. Parker has a good song percolating. Captures his vocals wonderfully.
Additional musicians — Charley Wiles (electric guitar/slide), Scott Lee (bass/upright bass) & Matt Combs (violin/viola/cello/upright bass/mandolin/string arrangements).
Color image from Parker’s website. CD available @ https://www.parkertwomey.com/