Country Music People May 2019 - Page 34

albumreviews JOHN PAUL WHITE The Hurting Kind  The Good Old Days / I Wish I Could Write You a Song / Heart Like a Kite / Yesterday’s Love / The Long Way Home / The Hurting Kind / This Isn’t Gonna End Well (feat. Lee Ann Womack) / You Lost Me / James / My Dreams Have All Come True Producers: John Paul White & Ben Tanner Single Lock Records 41:46 34 cmp - MAY 2019 For his latest, John Paul White, one half of the former Grammy-winning duo Civil Wars, has embraced countrypolitan in a big way. Full of swoopy strings and Orbison-esque arrangements, The Hurting Kind has big ideas as an album and actually lives up to them. From the drama of I Wish I Could Write You A Song to the downbeat James this record never puts a foot wrong. Even the opening The Good Old Days, which ironically is the least retro sounding song here with jangly pop sensibilities that could have come from R.E.M. works. But listen to Yesterday’s Love, with fiddles and crying steel, and JPW’s voice takes on a dreamy, soaring quality somewhere between the bastard love child of Raul Malo and Chris Isaak. It could have been made any time in the past 50 years… or even the next 50 years. One of the goals for the Alabama native’s third solo album was a “torch song” quality and this track exemplifies it. With writing input from heavyweight writing legends like Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock, along with a guest performance from Lee Ann Womack on the stunning This Isn’t Going (To End Well) and Erin Rae and The Secret Sisters providing backing vocals this reeks of quality. But, just as I was blown away by the JPW/Lee Ann Womack track even that is blown out of the water by the track which follows it, You Lost Me. This will almost certainly be THE performance of THE song this year. Lush and dramatic, it is simply stunning. Any day of any other week I’d probably be saying something similar about the closing waltz My Dreams All Come True. The Long Way Home is more the kind of Americana-geared material I might have expected on a John Paul White album and would sit just as happily on daytime UK radio as it would a specialist show, but even on it, and the downbeat James JPW is enthralling. Despite its underlying countrypolitan swagger and arrangements of which Fred Foster would be proud, The Hurting Kind is far from a traditional country album. It is, however, an incredible piece of work whichever way you look at it. Duncan Warwick