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PETUNIA

Inside of You

(TRAPLINE PRODUCTIONS)

Although titularly a solo album, Petunia’s Vipers are wholly-enrolled in kicking his second release into shape, along the way pinning down, with a combination of aggression, artfulness and grace, a further twelve tracks which should serve to enhance this enigma's reputation no end.

In line with Petunia’s own philosophy, ’If there's something you believe in, start on it today’, there was no hanging about in recording Inside of You, it completed within three days, and the frenetic pace of the uptempo numbers mirrors that frenzy. With Patrick Metzger’s booming bass providing the foundation, the heavily-reverbed surf guitar of ‘Runaway Freight Train Heart’ sounds as if Cliff Gallup is spooking the studio. Reprising the sound on ‘Primitive Love’, but with added jagged menace and Mariachi trumpet recalling a re-purposed John Ford western soundtrack, Petunia’s howls are almost overwhelmed by the pounding racket.

Balance is the name of the game, though and Petunia’s croaking croon over the swing of ‘Forgotten Melody’ and the gentle jazz chords, fiddles and military percussion of ‘Lucille’ are gentler examples of his ability to straddle genres and cherry-pick the elements needed to suit his message. Even the buzzing of amplification is left unedited in the latter to give atmosphere to what almost amounts to a song cycle in a little over five giddy minutes.

‘Gunned Down’, a waltz-time Hank Williams-reminiscent deathbed lament cools things a little but the frenzied rockabilly swing pace is restored by ‘They Almost Had Me Believing’, complete with Petunia trademark yodel and strangely-soothing lapsteel before nominal closer (a mystery additional track is on the pressing) continues in the same vein with Stephen Nikleva channelling Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins to fantastic atmospheric effect.

The best vocal performance, however, is reserved for ‘Bicycle Song’, where over the low-octave chatter and whine of guitar and steel, Petunia’s delivery ranges from a rich treacly croak to a Jeff Buckley-like soaring purity in wholly-natural swoops and dips. Beguiling.

www.petuniamusic.com

www.petuniaandthevipers.com

 

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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.
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DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
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46 pts.
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Highway 20 Records
EM
11
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Wink Burcham
43 pts.
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13
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42 pts.
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BR
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41 pts.
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CVL
 
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41 pts.
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HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
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BM
18
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39 pts.
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ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
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20
John Prine
37 pts.
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FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
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GS,HD
22
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35 pts.
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FCE
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LK,PR,TJ
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AL
 
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