Dan Tuffy & Song Crew – Country Star
Don’t be fooled by the title of this LP admits Dan Tuffy, it’s not a country album. At a stretch, it may border on alt-country. The opening track is an older song from Tuffy’s repertoire but after noodling around with bassist Madelief van Vlijmen, Dan started to inject some new life into the old tune & “Don’t Smoke In Bed,” re-emerged with a renewed vibrancy.
This new set from Australian songwriter/producer & now a resident of the Netherlands Dan Tuffy goes for another grab at the gold ring. The musicians on this set are precise & polished with tracks produced by Zlaya Loud at LOUD!, Barcelona & recorded in Studio 150 Amsterdam.
9-cuts make up Country Star – (Drops June 2-Smoked Recordings) & it’s well, different. It’s easy to dismiss stuff like this by saying it’s indie-music but indie only means independent. Does it matter if the CD isn’t issued by a major label, even they have their crapola pile of artists. Many independent artists are more careful about what they do since it’s primarily their dough that shapes the musical bread.
Tuffy has a lived-in weather-beaten voice. I listen & have visions of grey wooden barns with age deep in their grain, with wild grasses that surround their base, a rusty rooster weathervane on the roof, a creaky Esso gasoline tin sign on timber & the reason for that feeling is that this rawness has dignity, spirit & it’s part of a landscape of the land. Vividly shaped. Tuffy’s music is a 34-minute of parlando (conversational singing style) landscape too.
Tuffy’s attraction vocally is his redolent & evocative approach. A more friendly Tom Waits, Jon Dee Graham & Canada’s Tom Wilson (Junkyard). The deep voice articulates with experience with lots of whiskey flavor & intuition. “Don’t Smoke In Bed,” is its own eclectic country. Closer to Steve Earle than Willie Nelson. If Dan Tuffy came in bottles – I’d order a case every month.
Highlights – “Don’t Smoke In Bed,” “Firetails,” “How Sweet Sunshine,” “Where Does the Money Go?” “Silver Morning,” the superb “Venom & Mud,” & the wonderful soulful backup vocals on “Man of Feeling.”
Musicians – Dan Tuffy (vocals/electric, baritone, archtop & acoustic guitars/percussion/bird calls), Madelief van Vlijmen (backing vocals/electric, fretless & double bass/upright piano/Hammond organ/Fender Rhodes/D7 synth), Stefan Wolfs (electric & acoustic guitars/pedal steel), Mischa Porte (drums/percussion), Zlaya Loud (ARP Odyssey/modular synth/atmo & Juno 60 synth/electronics), Michael Turner (drums/drones/electric & acoustic guitar “Home Sweet Sunshine,” synths/pulse keys/electro-vibes & intro scream on “Silver Morning”) & Matt Walker (archtop/fuzz guitar on “Man of Feeling”).