- BC Games
Mitchell: Farr a ‘would-be rural country rebel’
Tyler Farr; Redneck Crazy (Sony)
Tyler Farr is a new, young player on the USA country scene with this debut album that is selling very well.
He comes by his western chops honestly as his father was the lead guitarist for George Jones’ touring band and young Tyler even went along with the crew when he was in his mid-teens.
Farr has scored a semi-novelty hit with the title track Redneck Crazy which is an odd song for a few reasons.
First of all, the song isn’t ‘crazy’ but rather a ballad about lost love. And Farr also plays a bit of a confused Hamlet role where he is parked on the front lawn of his ex’s house watching shadows on the curtains as she embraces her new lover.
In his lyrics Farr warns that he is about to go ape s&*t but all he does is sit there at 3 a.m. and fume over his lost love—which seems fairly reasoned rather than redneck crazy.
On the rest of this disc Farr isn’t any more credible but he always stays in character as a would-be rural country rebel. His self-penned songs are about backwoods bush parties for two and sundry “rural route rocking” while he manages to get drunk without booze just by looking at his pretty girlfriend.
On the silly glorification of country blue collar life with Cowgirl (that’s all that he needs) Farr brags that “he don’t need no nest egg for a rainy day” which may be the most redneck crazy statement on this whole album.
The album closer Living With The Blues is a mournful weeper with just Farr and guitar about more lost loves etc. but, hey, there’s no crying in redneck land.
Tony Bennett; Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas 1964 (Columbia)
A couple of years ago Tony Bennett’s label released a 75+ disc boxed set that included all his albums with individual mock up album covers along with live DVDs and some discs of outtakes.
You have got to be an enormously, massive uber-fan to want that much Tony Bennett but this new single disc Vegas concert is making its debut as a stand alone CD for the very first time.
Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 was a part of that huge box set but the original tapes were recorded nearly fifty years ago for a concert album that was shelved and is only now available for those who don’t want the over-sized box set.
I’ll bet this concert gig was put aside way back when because of the Beatles led British Invasion and the unlikelihood that Bennett would sell very well.
Anyway, this is an interesting document of the times.
Bennett rips through 24 tunes in less than an hour as was the trend at the times re: get the suckers in for a quick show and then direct them to the gambling rooms. Anyway, Bennett offers many Broadway show tunes that clock in at around the two minute or less mark with evergreens like This Could Be The Start Of Something Big, Chicago (That Toddling Town), Lullaby Of Broadway, Mam’selle, (the mob classic) Rags To Riches, and of course Bennett’s biggest hit (I Left My Heart In) San Francisco.
There is a five minute “comedy routine” with Milton Berle, Danny Thomas (best forgotten) and Mickey Rooney that doesn’t have a shred of humour but the punters at least got to see some “stars” before losing their wages at the gambling tables.
Bennett sounds okay here but far too often insincere, rushed facile re: his loopy 55 second version of Firefly.
But when he settles down with just his piano led trio as on Once Upon A Time and Ain’t Misbehavin’, he comes across as more than just a shill.
Haim; Days Are Gone (Columbia)
Haim is the surname of a trio of sisters Este (guitar, bass), Danielle (vocals, guitar) and Alana (keyboards, guitar) who grew up in southern California and learned their musical chops while playing as children in their family’s cover band named Rockinghaim.
Este went on to study music at UCLA while her sister Danielle became a capable enough musician to play with Julian Casablancas on his solo tour away from The Strokes.
The three sisters threw their lot in together to start writing songs and were soon discovered at the SXSW festival in Texas and they were signed by the British label Polydor.
In the U.K. Haim released a five song EP (extended play) that got rave reviews and earned the gals a hit with the song Don’t Save Me and they went on to win The Sound of 2013 Award by the BBC—the first female group in Brit pop history to do so.
Haim continued their string of successes with a sold out tour and a noted performance at the huge Glastonbury festival while Haim also went on to tour with Ke$ha whom they are destined to outstrip for future fame.
Anyway, Days Are Gone is Haim’s debut album in N. America and four of the five songs from their breakthrough Brit EP are included on this eleven track album.
The aforementioned song Don’t Save Me has definite nods of influence to Joni Mitchell while their sound is polished but still carries over a blend of indie-synth-pop with production help by Ariel Rechtshaid of Usher and Vampire Weekend Fame.
This first album is getting a lot of push by its label and the big hype from their U.K. fame but to my ears Haim is more of a band to watch than a bona fide sure-fire hit in America which is odd as USA pop music via Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and a lot of soul/pop defines Haim’s sound.
Some of the material sounds a bit too samey while the sisters voices are serviceable if not spectacular.
Feature tracks if you go by the add-on sticker to the liner include the slightly funky pop of Falling and Forever along with the electro demo (synth hand clapping) of The Wire and the much hookier Don’t Save Me.
The ladies stretch out a bit with the moderately grimy Let Me Go with its hints of White Stripes and the closing dream pop ballad of Running If You Call My Name which is the only track to feature a pedal steel guitar.
I think I come across as a little underwhelmed by this debut Haim release but I love to be proved wrong.
Maybe Haim will become just as huge in their native land than in Britain.