JEREMY PINNELL – Ties of Blood and Affection (Sofaburn SBR2-032)

Ties Of Blood And AffectionOpening your album with the line “laid up in the house full of hookers and wine” is a pretty good way to get the listener’s attention, but you still have to keep it. And, on this, his second release, the Kentucky country singer-songwriter does that effortlessly, both on that opening track, the swampy chug of ‘Ballad Of 1892’ with its “bad times ahead and good times behind”, and throughout the whole album.

Drawing on the Bakersfield sound and often likened to Waylon Jennings, he continues with ‘Take The Wheel’, less throaty in its delivery with lap steel guitar and a rollalong bluesy rhythm as he sings “I forgot how much I loved music, cos for so long I thought I might lose it”, an upbeat testament to the power of a good tune to get you out of a funk. The acoustic backed ‘Feel This Right’ is more straight down the line jaunty honky tonk country with its pedal steel and keening vocal, the line “some call it pay day, I call it paying bills, sometimes they look like mountains but I’m told they’re hills” reinforcing the running themes of dealing with everyday working life, family, faith and relationships; it even talks of a having a satisfied mind. It’s echoed in the romantic ‘Different Kind Of Love’, a from the heart love letter to his woman and a reminder of why he goes out the door every morning to do what he does.

He’s back to roadhouse rocking for ‘I Don’t Believe’, set to a line dancing rhythm that’ll be familiar to Mavericks fans (not to mention Dave Edmunds), as he sings about religion and faith accompanied by a bouncing steel and guitar break while the chugging ‘I’m Alright With This’ has a touch of Cash about it with its lyrics about reforming your ways (“I got tired of going to jail every time I drink a beer’) and leaving the darkness behind and finding the light through the love of a good woman. Indeed, she’s his saviour in the classic old school cowboy hymnal feel of ‘Best I Could Do’, a song about meeting your maker knowing you’ve tried your best with the cards you’ve hard.

He heads to the end with the honky tonk rollicking ‘Ain’t Nothing Wrong’ about having to resist the temptations that come his way and “keeping that devil down” and not slowing down until “I see that old bright light”, living on his own terms and not losing sleep over what other people say. Which, brings him naturally to the equally musically upbeat closing ‘The Way We See Heaven’ as, reflecting on how “in nineteen hundred and seventy seven my mama thought I came from heaven…later in life she knew I came from hell”, he finds himself at the pearly gates and, finding that he’s being consigned to the fire below, unapologetically telling St. Peter, “hey man that’s alright, y’see. Least I’ll be with the ones that really love me.” Pinnell doesn’t see the glass as half full or half empty, he sees it as to be drunk. Cheers to him.

Mike Davies

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ORDER – [CD]

Artist’s website: www.jeremypinnell.com

‘Feel This Right’ – live: