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Reviews

Cale TysonCale Tyson
Album: Careless Soul
Label: Club House
Tracks: 13
Website: http://www.caletyson.net

Texas-born and Nashville-based Tyson released a couple of EPs prior to this (subsequently gaghered together on last year's Introducing ) that, with that hint of a yodel in his voice, saw him heralded as a rising new star in the old time red dirt country constellation. Now, he's finally got round to a full album, one which again sports Hank Williams influences, although, recorded in Muscle Shoals, there's more of a country soul to his sad songs this time around.

Working with a band that includes Dave Hood and Skylar Wilson, it kicks off with 'Staying Kind', a mid-tempo barroom soul swayer with tumbling piano line and big fat horns, sliding into the slower sweet country blues croon of 'Somebody Save Me', evocative of Patsy Cline's 'She's Got You' and then on to the bubbling 60s doo wop groove of the title track, a Tex Mex flavour to the guitars and a sort of melding together of Ben E King and Bobby Vee. That 60s vibe percolates throughout, kicking up its heels on the piano pumping, rock n rolling 'Easy' with a particularly tasty guitar solo in the Scotty Moore tradition.

'Travelling Man' is the first real ballad and, stained by both strings and pedal steel, the most country track so far, then it's back to a Patsy Cline soundalike for' Pain In My Heart' and on to a Johnny Cash rocking boom chicka boom chug for 'Railroad Blues'. Switching the pace again, the sad, slow waltzing, steel-streaked 'Dark Dark' finally sees the spirit of Hank surface, just in time for the direct homage of the slow bluesy lope of 'High Lonesome Hill', essentially a rewrite of 'Rambling Man'.

He takes the honky tonk down to New Orleans for the goodtime swing of 'Gonna Love A Woman' with its clopping rhythm, saloon piano, muted brass and sounding like he's channeling Roger Miller on a melody line reminiscent of Dylan's 'You Ain't Going Nowhere' spliced with the chorus of 'Battleship Chains' from The Georgia Satellites.

A brief, and to be honest somewhat pointless, instrumental reprise of 'Pain' with cooing backing vocals and then it's time for the closing number, bringing the curtain down with 30s era cinematic strings introducing (and resurfacing midway) 'Ain't It Strange', a beautiful, simple, uncluttered piano and strummed guitar-backed countrypolitan ballad with weeping pedal steel. "Ain't it amazing", he sings. Indeed it is, and one of the best country album's you'll hear this year.

Mike Davies