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TURNPIKE TROUBADOURS —A LONG WAY FROM YOUR HEART (Bossier City / Thirty Tigers Records)

http://www.thirtytigers.com

http://www.turnpiketroubadours.com

One of the hottest acts to perform at the 2017 Glasgow’s Celtic Connections was roots rock Americana unit, the Turnpike Troubadours, and they now have a band new album out. Powered by the lead vocals and story-songs of cofounder Evan Felker A Long Way From Your Heart is typical of the music of this busy touring band. Felker like famed Dust Bowl folk troubadour, Woody Guthrie, and former band member and now a head turning solo act, John Fullbright he also comes from Okemah, Oklahoma. A place, that after living elsewhere he is proud to call home. 

RC Edwards (bass), Kyle Nix (fiddle), Ryan Engleman (guitar), Gabe Pearson (drums) and Hank Early (pedal steel) are the other band members, and with them laying down a solid sound base sympathetic to Felker’s efforts the sound might vary little, but it is nevertheless a winner. None come any finer than his co-write with Fulbright “Pay No Rent” (what a classy number) that they wrote the for Felker’s beloved aunt Lou; a local bar owner of the Rocky Road Tavern and genuine friend. Based on an old Irish saying it pays homage to her, and it has a partner in another wonderful story song, melodic gem “Old Time Feeling (Like Before)”. Both contain some of Felker’s most assured vocals of the record. The former, in particular translates superbly! Likewise up there with the band’s finest you have “Something To Hold On To” and with caution cast to the wind, and warmed in banjo, pedal steel, fiddle and frantic rhythm among other things tossed into the pot “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues” races along in adventuress fashion, like as if there is no tomorrow as it speaks of the devil.    

Others of note include, the full-bodied opening track “The Housefire” (‘next thing I remember I was bare-foot in November; that’s all she wrote in a thirty second note’). On listening to it my mind reflected on the likeness between, the Turnpike Troubadours and Virginia-born and raised Scott Miller and his band, The Commonwealth. Some of you will also remember him from the short-lived, The V-Roys, and how he told great stories and performed music outside the loop. Produced by Ryan Hewitt (The Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brandi Carlisle) the music virtually leaps from the speakers on “Oklahoma Stars”, and with a cool approach, instrumentally, Felker with a little inspiration from his Uncle, Ervin Felker; a former musician himself the song also contains some Bakersfield pedal steel, beautiful fiddle and hints of Merle Haggard-jazz cum swing. Evan Felker and the band he fronts, the Turnpike Troubadours are the kind of act you would always want to give the benefit of the doubt no matter what they did! They are the kind of band that ooze, wonderful infectious energy viewed live.  

          Maurice Hope 

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
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Black Hen Music
LM
 
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32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
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Wild Wild Wild
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GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
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28 pts.
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14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
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15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
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Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
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TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
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Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
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Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
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MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
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Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
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20 pts.
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24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
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25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
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