Title - 'Nashville' (Scarlet Records)
Artist - Auburn
OK, for the record, did you know that acoustic ensemble Auburn actually broke up almost a decade ago? I know, right! But luckily for us fans they seemingly reformed back in 2011 and now have a brand new album and a major UK tour supporting the legendary Jefferson Starship. Oh, and they have also just celebrated their 40th anniversary; although quite where that decade break up fits “legally” into that anniversary timeline is above my pay grade!
Moving swiftly on and having saddled up their unique blend of Americana, blues and roots music to bring us Nashville lead singer Liz Lenten‘s writing and vocal expertise is most definitely brought to the fore.
And so, with Nashville containing elements of blues, country and roots the first track is ‘Sitia Bay’ - and it sure does provide the most perfect of bluesy soundscapes for Lenten’s distinctive vocals. That slow-paced cut is followed by the gentle Motownesque storytelling of ‘Let’s Start Over’ and then the dulcet pedal steel guitar work of Terry Crisp on ‘Hurting.’
The veritable quasi-pop vibe of ‘Crazy People’ is next and also features a nod to an infamous Dead Or Alive hit single from back in the day! That’s backed by the slow jazz feel of ‘Pride Is A Thief,’ a song that you can just imagine being sung at some smoky cigar smoke-infested gin joint, and the gently acoustic ‘Butterfly.’
Recorded in, where else but Nashville, Tennessee with award-winning producer Thomm Jutz (Nanci Griffiths, Mary Gauthier) the new album features musicians who have played with everyone from Roy Orbison to Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton. And you can feel that hometown vibe free flowing through the album; especially on ‘Maybe Tonight.’ Complete with the pedal steel guitar of Crisp again it truly encapsulates everything that is great about this album.
Another underground smoky gin jointesque track is next in the form of ‘Full To The Brim,’ which is backed by more of Crisp’s work on the sultry ‘I Would Fall Down.’ This glorious album then comes to a close with the quietness of ‘Leaving Day,’ the French-themed ‘If You Knew’ (which sounds like a Marilyn Monroe/Betty Boop vocal mesh), and then finally the gentle country sway of ‘I’m Lost.’
On an album that aside from Lenten also features the credible work of Lynn Williams (drums/percussion), Mark Fain (bass), Barry Walsh (piano/organ), Thomm Jutz (guitars), the aforementioned Terry Crisp (pedal steel guitar) and Britt Savage (harmony vocals), Nashville is; simply put, one incredible mother of an album. As Hunter S. Thompson once said: “Buy the ticket, take the ride”!
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk