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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Canadian act, Petunia and his band, The Vipers after successful tours, the last was as a duo with fellow Canadian Nathan Godfrey of the UK and Ireland and 2012 self-titled debut record, Petunia & The Vipers now have a follow-up.
Inside Of You is quite different from their debut record, more diverse and experimental, as you have jazz and darker colourings replace the simplified efforts of before. I wish I could say it works, in reality it doesn’t. Due to his ramblings dropping over the edge as Petunia losing his distinctive styling. His western music complete with Jimmie Rodgers' style yodel as on his live shows is what he invariably does best.
One rare delight is the superb, beautifully performed and tender as the petals of a flower “Inside of You”. From there he reverts to a most rock fuelled “The One Thing”, followed by an okay, darkly painted story-ballad as he speaks of how as a Sherriff he is “Gunned Down” on the main street of a western town. While with frenetic rhythm and steel guitar in the mix he gets back on track before it is too late with the superb “They Almost Had Me Believing” and the faster still paced, western rockabilly delight “Tear Drop Rolling”. Peppered with pedal steel it gives the song the feel he is really travelling, by train (trains are a recuring feature of the record) along those railroad tracks across the wide-open plains.
Shame he wasn’t quite as focussed, or should I say became side tracked for the majority of the album’s earlier tracks. This as his quivering tones performed “Forgotten Melody”, “Primitive Love” etc. But alongside The Vipers; Stephen Nikleva, Jimmy Roy, Patrick Metzger and Paul Townsend (and guests; old time musician Frank Fairfield among them) he does shine on “Bicycle Song”. Even on the jazz toned “Oh My Mother” he becomes lost as he tries to blend in other diverse musical interests. More Jimmie Rodgers and blue yodels would have been far more welcome.
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