Country Music People December 2017 - Page 33

BILLY BURNETTE Crazy Like Me  Tear It Up / (All I Can Do Is) Dream You / Crazy Like Me / Oh Well / When I Remember You / It’s Late / Nothing To Do (And All Night To Do It) / Ghost Town / Do I Ever Cross Your Mind / She’s Burning The Honky Tonks Down / She’s Going To Win Your Heart / River Of Love / All Nighter / Anywhere You Go Producer: Billy Burnette Self release 47:56 Well as they say ‘there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle’ and judging by this cracking release then Billy Burnette is still on top form. He started his recording career in 1972 and his lineage make him the possible father of Rockabilly. However, if you want to debate that then when it comes to name-dropping he’s peerless. He’s played with Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Roger Miller and was a member of Fleetwood Mac for nine years. Amongst his song writing credits he’s earned royalties from George Strait, Rod Stewart, Cher, Faith Hill, Greg Allman and an icon called Ray Charles. He still remains in demand playing live in Europe and the USA. Such is his musical odyssey that he’s published a book detailing his journey. This is the accompanying record that includes many of the songs on his timeline. Tear It Up, performed by his father, has been a staple of his live set, it is classic Rockabilly with a drum pattern that places you in Memphis in the mid 1950’s. Against a rocking electric guitar Burnette hollers his stuff as swirling teenage girls attempt to keep their petticoats in place. A roaring start. Next a composition for the Big O roars out – (All I Can Do Is) Dream You. It’s here that Burnette’s guitar skills start to become evident. You don’t sit in alongside the people he has unless you know your way around a fret board and so it is here that he strums and picks with fluency and melody. As the journey continues we take in the Fleetwood Mac years and his take on Peter Green’s Oh Well. It is sublime with a beautiful 1970’s guitar sound against an insurgent rhythm. The guitar picks, reverbs and soars. In the meanwhile an upright bass stays in step beside the Rockabilly drums. Riveting. Some new compositions make the cut including Ghost Town with a haunting guitar motif leading us through his tale of a bereft lover. Think John Hiatt meets Tom Petty. Ray Charles had a hit in 1985 with Do I Ever Cross Your Mind. He reprised this with Bonnie Raitt in 2004. Here he sings this superb ballad against a piano melody and some refined guitar licks. She’s Going To Win Your Heart keeps us in the 1980’s with a hit for Billy Raven who took this to #9 on the Billboard Country charts. The pace falls and this piece of Country pop happens around a large dose of Duane Eddy like twang. Burnette has produced an album of original Rockabilly albeit with 2017 production values. Where it differs to some of the latest purveyors is that the country influence is never far away with melody hooks, trilling female back up singers and that spellbinding perfect musicianship. Never do you wait for the chorus to come around or a guitar break to relieve the tedium of earnest young men trying too hard. Recommended. Tony Ives DYLAN EARL New Country To Be  My Failing Life / Hard Time / Cold As The Rockies / Draw The Line / Where She Woke Up (On Mornings With Me) / Yesterdays / Clay Pigeons / Snakes (Through My Old Pain) / Hard To Be Her Man / Gasoline Producer: Will Eubanks Fabulon Records 34:11 I’m really enjoying the trend towards making retro-looking artwork for albums. Artwork that looks as though it were designed to be on an LP rather than a CD, and Dylan Earl’s New Country To Be is a fine example of just that. I also love that he’s called the label Fabulon Records. Dylan Earl is based in Arkansas and musically sits in that world where George Jones meets Gram Parsons with an alt-country twist. This is the kind of sound that Cale Tyson explored on his debut and Daniel Romano was making several years ago before he headed in a different direction. As it turns out, Dylan Earl toured with Romano and it would seem that the Canadian singer has been a big influence on him. Thankfully for us, it’s the Romano of old that has been so influential. If anything, Dylan Earl is a little bit more accessible and I like this record and artists like this very much indeed. There’s enough of an alternative vibe to make it acceptable to early adopters and hipsters, yet it’s hardcore country enough to appeal to long time country fans at the same time. The backing vocals on Draw The Line brought a smile to my face but I think it was a deliberate moment of cheese and all the better for it and it might b e my favourite track here. As you might surmise from the titles, Dylan Earl is a man who likes the more mournful side of country music, he looks like he just stepped off the set of Anchorman, add to that a ton of steel guitar, some dashes of Hammond organ, and a retro sound - what’s not to like? I loved the feel of the strangely titled Clay Pigeons and when it was followed with the opening of Snakes (Through My Old Pain), “the airplanes look like angels flying sideways”, I wondered if there might be some waccy baccy involved at the time of writing. Maybe it’s just a little ethereal and arty but I never felt it was up its own arse and enjoyed all of it. Dylan Earl is like a throwback to a time that never really existed except in our minds, but I’m quite happy living in that world. He’s also playing a few UK dates just after Christmas. Duncan Warwick DECEMBER 2017 - cmp 33