Flyinshoes Review

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www.singerandkopp.com

Lorrie Singer and Bradley Kopp have known each other a long time but it is only in recent years that they have become a married couple and musical partnership. Based in Austin, I believe this is their second album together and they got old friend Iain Matthews on board as a collaborator - song-picker, singer, guitarist and voice of experience.  He wrote the sleeve notes, too, and says "...the hooks are undeniable...they have the songs and the fire". Well, sleevenotes are meant to be effusive but this really is a very strong album. It's hard to say that it's squarely in any one particular genre, but I would say the default setting is modern radio friendly commercial country. That is to say, there are enough songs here to be picked out for radio play that would sound bright and shiny enough to tempt punters in to buying the whole album. Once they do, they'll discover there's quite a bit more to these guys than a few hooks, some nice harmonies and some classy electric guitar, modern Nashville-style.

           Nine of these thirteen songs are written by one or both of Lorrie and Bradley, with Iain Matthews getting a co-write credit on four of those. There's a strain of sentimentality in the writing that maybe doesn't bear too close a scrutiny (The Savage Ways Of Man, for example, makes John Lennon's Imagine sound like hardcore political philosophy), but there's a thoughtful social awareness at work, too, which will resonate with people - whether it's the post-Katrina song Radio Car or the epic, angry Uncle Ben's House with its strong echoes of CSNY, circa 1970. Of the cover songs, America Walking By shows these guys at their most tender and gentle, with their voices harmonising beautifully. Actually, their voices also work really well together at full tilt, and the major part of this record has some really beefy arrangements that require strong vocal leadership - which they deliver.

           Overall, though, there's three things which make this record well worth checking out for me. One is Lorrie Singer's , err, singing. Once or twice the song doesn't seem quite right for her but, at her best, she's got a great feel for a lyric and how to put it over. The second is Bradley Kopp's guitar playing; he does a lot of engineering/producing these days but he made his name as a guitarist and it shows. Whether it's electric or acoustic, he's a very eloquent, fluid player who can also bring that controlled aggression to his playing that is much in evidence in commercial country music these days. One highlight from his playing is the delicate-yet-strong outro on acoustic guitar with which he embellishes The Savage Ways Of Man, but there are many others. Finally, the third is their cover of Krista Detor's song, Rich Man's Life. If it's ok to judge musicians by their cover versions, then these guys know just what they're about. They bring so much out of this song which isn't at all obvious in the original version, beautiful as that is. The original is clothed in an air of mystery but Lorrie and Bradley bring the song's scene to vibrant life and also bring out the playfulness in the lyric.  Good stuff all round, then.

John Davy


stand alone player

       

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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