Pokey LaFarge – “Fine to Me” [Official Video]
What country band would have the moxie to say, “Hey. ‘Jolene’ is a good song. Let’s make a sequel.”
That would be Chapel Hart.
Danica Hart. Devynn Hart. Trea Swindle. Hailing from Hart’s Chapel, Mississippi. Yes, it’s a family act. Yes, they got their start busking in good ol’ NOLA. And yes. All of that shows.
The Girls Are Back In Town is a shocking delight. Shocking to me in that, well, I’m a little bit country. And contemporary country acts I seldom have much of a use for. But, shit. This record is fun.
Starting with the aforementioned track: “You Can Have Him Jolene.” This is the kind of thing that happens and you go, why didn’t I think of that? Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Or “sliced bread.” It may be the best thing this side of “Goodbye Earl.”
And a Dixie Chicks comparison isn’t totally out of bounds with Chapel Hart. These are strong, beautiful voices with harmonies that seem to have been assembled from within the Blue Grotto. These voices. They are at least three reasons for me to advocate that you give this a spin. Hear these melodies sync like the Judds on “Jaqui’s Song,” written for a friend who died of a lightning strike in 2016. Or, for that matter, on the inspirational “I Will Follow,” which has nothing to do with U2, for the record.
Then, there are the lyrical flourishes, as on the lovely honky-tonk ultimatum, “Tailgate Trophy,” with clever word puzzles such as “I won’t be your Friday night unless I can be the rest of your week” and the chorus “R-E-S-P-E you know the rest this ain’t no spelling test I need some TLC.”
Who comes up with that? Who so blithely references the Queen of Soul and turns it into such a home stretch?
But. If you want to really appreciate the muscle behind Chapel Hart, do not pass go, do not collect $200, point your music player to “Just Say I Love You” to appreciate the powerhouse who is Danica Hart. This gorgeous woman, this beautiful singer, she pours her heart out all over ya. Listen to this track and be not moved. If you can do that I challenge the legitimacy of your ownership of a working nervous system.
There is also a track with a ::checks notes:: professional wrestler called Mickie James. The track is “Grown Ass Woman” and is everything you assumed it would be. Every album has a weak link, this may be that of this. I’m sure it plays great in Poughkeepsie.
“I’m a grown-ass woman, ya’ll.” Seriously.
At least that is saved by “Jesus and Alcohol,” which shows the bone fides these ladies are piling up: Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top opted to appear in their video. If the Billy Gibbons was a fan of these broads, then, certainly, so am I.
So is country music a fan of them as well, apparently. Chapel Hart is among the 2021 Next Women of Country designation by Country Music Television. I’m not sure what this means, or if it’s like winning an Oscar or something. But if it’s a fete, these women deserve it. “The Girls Are Back In Town” is the complete package.
If I seem distracted or somehow self-absorbed these days, I apologize.
When I lose my place in our conversation, if I tap my foot while we’re speaking, if I interject something about your third eye or just bark out ABOUT THAT while we are in discussion of something, it’s not my fault.
It’s because I have listened to and absorbed into my bloodstream the album Yellow by Emma-Jean Thackray.
I currently have one foot in where we are and another foot in the word she has created. And I will only slightly apologize that I prefer to lean hard on the foot that is full of the funky kudzu she drops in the soil.
She: As Pitchfork reports…
As a teenager in Yorkshire, Thackray was the principal trumpeter in her local brass band, a musical tradition often associated with the North of England. The use of brass here, with the sousaphone joined by the trombone, trumpet, and saxophone, seems to call back to that era, giving her cosmic jazz a fascinating Northern English (and New Orleans) tint. Thackray has previously wondered whether “some Yorkshire white girl” should participate in the Black American musical tradition of jazz. This, perhaps, is her answer, with the tremble of brass making Yellow something more than a straight copy of someone else’s musical innovation.
Four listens and some reading before I registered the brass band connection, sometimes I hear the Meters in this thing, that the sousaphone here could drive the Forgotten Souls Brass Band, that the percussion could march a second line forward. But it’s beyond that. This woman is talking discussing magick. And she draws forward techniques of Clare Fischer (of whom she was not aware; I asked her in the Twitter, she said she does not know of him) and Chick Corea. She already states directly that this album is made with intent to describe a personal psychedelic experience. But I thinks she’s also cast a few circles in her lifetime, danced skyclad a time or two under a big bright moon, and, if she has not indeed, she’s singing about it better since nobody than Van Morrison.
This is a new world. This is Oz. This is the Yellow Brick Road, but The Mighty Oz is a bespectacled unassuming young bandleader from Yorks. Step in. Fight that tornado. You’ll be okay.
- Trump showerhead rule to increase water flow being dropped (AP News)