Rusty Tinder – Alchemy Road
This CD got off to a great start with deep bass lines, sharp acoustic accentuations, snappy drum beats & angelic chorale. “Moonlit Kissed,” has a wonderful ambiance & Rusty Tinder is anything but rusty. This is done with clarity & Tinder’s piano notes sweeten the brawny power of the melody. Job well done, period. This is catchy & where country music should be. Serious doesn’t have to mean intense. This is casual & at the same time, it has its own potency. The arrangement is well-thought-out & never has a lull in the performance.
This album is Rusty’s 2nd solo outing with 12 songs at 51 heavy minutes. Produced by Rusty & Mike Cionni (Acoustic guitar/synths/BG vocals) Alchemy Road (Drops July 29– Independent) should attract major label attention. Tinder has all the elements of originality ticking throughout each tune. “Without You,” is a typical title for a country artist but Tinder splashes lots of interesting songwriting trickery from the punctuating vocal chorus, heavy-handed drums & tinkle of high-hat & the bass just hovering over the melody like a fog. Nice stuff.
The band is tight & teeters closer to a full-tilt rock band rather than a country outfit, but they have the hayseed, the cold beers, peasant girls in blouses & line-dancing expertise to make each tune believable. It’s rousing entertainment & Rusty Tinder knows how to assemble a nuclear-powered band that is invigorating & his vocals are gasoline lit by a match. There aren’t many country units with a lead singer who plays a Bruce Hornsby-type piano with smoke coming off his hair.
While for some these tunes may seem a bit eclectic the song cycle is solid. Even the slower songs “Tululah,” have an illustrative grip – it’s 70’s Poco (“Crazy Eyes”) mixed in with a generous amount of Elton John’s “Tumbleweed Connection,” dynamism.
Country music with pinches of classical music salt in the water. “Alchemy Road,” & “On Top of the World” are incredible pieces. “Copper Penny Sun,” is a little over the top, but if you need to be impressed, this one will do it. All wonderfully played. Each has relevance & elevates country-oriented music to a whole different level.
The players — Blake English (electric guitar/mandolin), Julie Pusch (violin/viola & string arrangements), Chris Tedesco (trumpet/flugel horn/horn in F/Trombone), David Silverman (tuba), John Fricke (trumpet), Greg Reeves (bass/horn arrangements), Paul Allen (drums), Kahlil Sabbagh (percussion), Rusty (pianos/accordion/wind chimes/harmonium/Hammond organ) & Bree Doehring (background vocals).
Great CD cover art by Ian Schuler. CD design by Chris Eselgroth. Handsome stitched lyric insert enclosed. Image courtesy of Tinder’s website.