Tipps & Obermiller – Love (and Other Mysteries)
This is the debut album of this duo of Hilary Tipps & Steve Obermiller & it’s an interesting, light-hearted collection of 11 songs produced by Stefan Prigmore, Hilary & Steve. Track 2 “Rewind, Repeat,” spills from the speakers in a Broadway-soundtrack type imaginative production since the melody & showcase sound as if it were written & performed for a show. It has that show-biz enthusiasm in the vocals & the lyrics are expressive.
There’s a generous amount of songs in varied styles though none are overwhelming or with showboat vocals. “Heart,” has poignant intertwining voices much the same as a vigorous 60s single “Follow Me,” by Lyme & Cybelle (Lyme was an early incarnation of the late Warren Zevon). Hilary’s vocals are folk-singer rich & on this tune, Steve takes a minor role though his support punctuates nicely in contrast with Hilary’s voice.
Love (and Other Mysteries) – (Drops March 24–Old Sheepdogs Music Group) has some closer-to-the-bone folk songs (“Mrs. Montgomery”) but at no time do these songs sound retro or dated. Steve’s vocals are warm & sincere. It has an old-fashioned approach but a contemporary spirit. Following this folk treatment, the duo treks into a rockier impression with the upbeat “Trouble In Mind.” Together they captivate the way Delaney & Bonnie & Friends once dignified music (“Comin’ Home,” “Only You Know & I Know”). This has that groove, that bluesy feel & together they dig deep into its formal rural breadth. Good job.
Hilary’s stellar vocal comes with a deeper tone on “My Love,” & Steve’s slinky vocal adds to the drama. The ballad sweeps by in a seductive stalking style with lines like “love ain’t for the faint of heart.” Songs are rooted in folk-country modes but the duo snazzy it up with swipes of jazzy hints & rock traditions. Listen carefully & the lyrics will sound compelling because the duo sings in an exciting well-navigated setting.
With “Thick As Thieves,” Steve sings with definitive Steve Earle properties. On this cut, I hear also hear the style once used by the duo Golden-Carrillo (“Fire In New Town”). Annie Golden sang on this CD with folk-rock adrenaline because she possessed show-tune experience. This is an ear-caressing tune by Tipps & Obermiller with laid back skillful instrumentation. An excellent duet with wonderful lyrical ornamentation is scattered throughout their repertoire.
Musicians – Hilary (guitar/vocals), Steve (guitar & vocals), Trey Ware (drums), Aden Bubeck (bass), Matt Tedder (electric guitar), Joe Ward (electric guitar), Nate Schneidewent (bass), Trevi Foxworth (vocals), Bishop & Sadie Tipps (woofs).
Highlights – “Rewind, Repeat,” “Heart,” “My Love,” “Thick As Thieves,” “Willow Tree,” “Mrs. Montgomery” & “Trouble In Mind.”
Color image courtesy of Tipps & Obermiller website. CD @ https://www.tippsandobermiller.com/bio