Country Music People May 2019 - Page 41

ORVILLE PECK Pony  1/2 Dead Of Night / Winds Change / Turn To Hate / Buffalo Run / Queen Of The Rodeo / Kansas (Remembers Me Now) / Old River / Big Sky / Roses Are Falling / Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call) / Hope To Die / Nothing Fades Like The Light Producer: Orville Peck Sub Pop 41:43 Orville Peck is a bit of a mystery. He seems to like it that way, as he hides behind a mask in the cover photo for his very entertaining solo debut album. So, who is Orville Peck? On the singer’s Bandcamp page he is described as a,”psychedelic outlaw cowboy”. We begin with Dead Of Night, which is released as a single. A dark, atmospheric guitar starts the song before the eerie, dreamy vocal kicks-in. The track, which has a fine melody, deals with two hustlers travelling through the desert. The lyrics are written by Orville Peck. The wonderful song ends with a short banjo solo. Recently Rolling Stone magazine named Orville Peck’s song Turn To Hate as one of the best ten country songs of the month. The track deals with Orville Peck’s life as an outsider, and his experiences of trying to stop resentment from building into hate. The song is almost in the country-rock camp. Anyone who listens to the first few songs on Pony will know very quickly that Orville Peck is a very fine singer-songwriter but how much his obvious rock influences, and even alt. rock influences will resonate with country fans is another matter. Buffalo Run has the power of a classic rock song. It evokes images of stampeding buffalo with the pace of the track increasing all the time. Orville Peck’s vocal really catches fire. This is a song that needs to be heard with the volume turned up to the oh-it-may-annoy-the-neighbours level! Queen Of The Rodeo has a fantastic dramatic feel. It’s a song about a rodeo queen with nowhere left to go. It sounds a bit like one of those big dramatic songs Scott Walker used to sing. The amazing Kansas (Remembers Me Now) sounds like an old country crooner fed through a strange psychedelic blender. Other highlights of the album include the short gospel leaning Old River, the twisted old-style country of Roses Are Falling and the melodic, dramatic almost operatic country of Hope To Die. The rather odd ticking clock on Hope To Die works rather well. Orville Peck’s album winds down with Nothing Fades Like The Light, a song with a quiet dignity and some whistling! The wonderful Orville Peck will probably become a cult hero for some country fans but his unique talent may not appeal to everyone. The whole album can-and should- be heard on Bandcamp. Orville Peck’s music doesn’t really sound like anyone else. He has an ear for melody and writes some very sharp lyrics. His voice has been compared to old-style crooners but Orville Peck does it his way with wit and style. Country music desperately needs more utterly unique talents like singer- songwriter Orville Peck. Pony is another of those rare debut albums where the singer hits the centre of the bullseye at his first attempt. Orville Peck calls his fans Peckerheads so I am now a Peckerhead, care to join me? Paul Riley HOUSTON MARCHMAN Highway Enchilada  1/2 Demolition Baby / 20 Years From Here / Hank’s Midnight Waltz / The Ballad Of Pinky Hernandez / I Can’t Go Back / Ditchweed Blues / Except You / Hey John / The Hat / Hank’s Midnight Waltz (Reprise) / Free Mexican Air Force Producer: not listed Winding Road Music 45:58 It’s been a while since I can remember new music from Houston Marchman , but it sure is good to have him back. He spent eight years living and working in Nashville some years ago but he’s one of those singer-songwriters that could only come from Texas. A cowboy, a poet, and a craftsman who is able to keep a dancefloor moving while at the same time entrancing the listener with lyrics that are saying something. All in all, a winning combination in my book, and on his latest, Highway Enchilada, Marchman returns in style. Whether it’s the enchanting accordion laden beautiful melody of 20 Years From Here, the killer two-steppin’ I Can’t Go Back, or the storytelling of The Ballad Of Pinky Hernandez Houston Marchman is thoroughly deserving of being mentioned in the same sentence as any Texas great you care to mention. Hank’s Midnight Waltz might show up twice but you’ll be glad it did. First time out it’s the three quarter time suggested by its title but the Reprise is a floor-filler extraordinaire. It’s also one of the best songs here whichever way it’s played and the trace of gruffness in Marchman’s vocals adds gravity and a feel of one too many gravel roads. As well as Marchman’s ability with a tune the female harmonies and accordion really add to the distinctly Texas feel of a really enjoyable album and one that I feel will only grow on me even more. I always think that Robert Earl Keen and Gary P Nunn epitomise Texas singer-songwriters for me and I’d add Houston Marchman to the list. Marchman’s bio suggests his music is best experienced in an old truck. I’d say experience it anywhere you can and feel like you’re in an old truck, but not just any old truck, a ’56 Chevy Stepside with Texas plates in red-oxide primer. Come back to me in a couple of months and I’ll probably wish I’d given it five stars. Duncan Warwick MAY 2019 - cmp 41