Skinny Dyck – Palace Waiting
Instead of a cowboy hat, Skinny Dyck wears a baseball cap & right there you have to know this country singer is slightly different. While the recording of Palace Waiting (Drops Sept 16–Sound Asleep Records) itself could use more bottom to dilute the tinny production what’s commendable are Skinny Dyck’s songs & his creative, inspired performance. He just needs a better studio.
At least the man doesn’t rely on what everyone in country music does. The musicians (individually not listed) perform light-hearted but the playing is polite & outstanding. Little touches with no flash but lots of little sparkles.
Recorded primarily in Texas, Dyck doesn’t pretend to be Elvis, Roy Orbison, or Johnny Cash but he does have that everyman vocal style easily relatable to average joes. “TV Blue,” is a small, classy tune that has some weight & a good groove & solid tale. There’s a 60s pop-country style applied to the performance – very Johnny Tillotson in tradition (“Talk Back Trembling Lips”) & that’s a compliment. Tillotson was a great vocalist. Despite the stripped-back sound, Skinny has a sincere luster to his classic-oriented country showcase.
“Cutting Off All Ties,” is a slow average ballad but Skinny’s ringing out all the angst & sorrow with a well-paced vocal. It sounds like we’re listening to a private conversation. Charming in its inception, a sad tune that’s well done. Too bad George Jones isn’t around to cover it.
“Jackson Hole,” has a guitar style reminiscent of many 60s pop-country songs such as Lee Hazelwood & Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”). This Skinny Dyck tune is played with expertise. This Skinny Dyck fellow is no flash in the pan, he’s a serious artist. An excellent country singer – probably going to be taken for granted like the late hobo country singer Boxcar Willie. Boxcar Willie was more entertaining than Willie Nelson & sounded closer to Johnny Cash in tone. Songs & performances were always stellar.
All the ingredients in Skinny’s efforts are richly intuitive. Lyrically clever & musically coherent throughout. Again, the production could stand a little tweaking because Skinny Dyck could sound even better. He has good material. The 2-bonus cuts are best. They reek of creativity & originality not found in average country songs — a tired genre that leans more & more into a pop-country sugar-coated allure. Dyck doesn’t do this – he’s truer to the tradition, sometimes the twang tradition. He’s worth checking out.
The Alberta Canada-based artist’s 24-minute 8-track CD was produced in Austin, Texas by Billy Horton (Charley Crockett, Theo Lawrence) & the Juicebox Kid.
Highlights – “Hey Who’s Counting?” “Be A Little Quieter,” “No Power Over Me,” “TV Blue,” “Cutting Off All Ties,” & “Jackson Hole.”
Color image courtesy of Skinny’s website. CD @ Bandcamp + https://www.skinnydyck.com/