Tip Jar – Songs About Love & Life On the Hippie Side of Country
This is the band’s sixth CD & recorded in Austin, TX & Eindhoven, Netherlands. The band is influenced heavily by a mix of 70s musical heroes. Track 2 sounds like a follow-up to Rick Nelson’s hit “Garden Party,” which it was also named after. It’s a warm folky melody with mandolin & fiddle strains that while pulled from a vintage source but never sounds too retro – because that’s the talent that this expressive band provides.
The CD art is a handsome colorful 6-panel fold with a 12pp stitched insert with lyrics & gorgeous photography. The 45-minute 12-cut Songs About Love & Life On the Hippie Side of Country (Drops Dec 2–Shine a Light Records) was produced by drummer Eric van de Lest (Netherlands) & guitarist/vocalist Walt Wilkins (Austin). The vocals are shared between Bart de Win (piano/Wurlitzer/B3 organ/accordion) & the honey-toned vocals of Arianne Knegt.
The rollicking barrelhouse piano & invigorating vocals on “Plough (Plow),” is a marvelous introduction to the energy & roots-country-Americana this trio has successfully absorbed. While the band has that long CD title they don’t linger long in hippie-dippy song structures or novelty music. They take their music seriously.
“Love & Understanding,” has an Americana thread but it’s planted in a funkier groove & cooks on a slow blue pilot flame. The songwriting is strong & actually better than many American counterparts who wallow in cliches because a few don’t have a grip on the creative language. The overall presentation is always bold & flavorful like the finest food. Perhaps material-wise the only thing missing is a song or two that get down & dirty. A bit more challenging instead of always being polite & sufficiently stylish.
Some tunes (“Wondering Why”) are strictly commercial & simplistic, but they leave a listener feeling elated. The musicianship is always stellar. Highlights: “Garden Party,” “Never Saw It Coming,” “White Sands,” “Creaking of the Stairs,” “Plough (Plow),” “Love & Understanding,” “Strong Enough” “Easy” & “Colors.”
The band may be foreign, but their infectious Americana has caught the deep ears of audiences in Texas & that’s a hard group to impress. Tip Jar is basically a trio with other featured musicians – Pat Manske (drums), Bill Small (bass/vocals), Harry Hendriks (ukulele/vocals/guitar/electric guitar/banjo), Joost van Es (violin), & Tonnie Ector (double bass).