PETUNIA – Inside Of You (own label)

PetuniaWho is Petunia, what is he? As William Shakespeare didn’t actually say. Originally from Quebec he’s now based in Vancouver and he’s been described as conjuring up the ghost of Jimmie Rodgers. It’s fairly certain that Petunia is not his real name.

Inside Of You opens with the high-speed rockabilly of ‘Runaway Freight Train Heart’ with great drumming from Paul Townsend. Then we get ‘Forgotten Melody’, which begins conventionally enough with strings and trumpet from JP Carter but then gets …well…weird, actually, in the way that Tom Waits can subvert a song. ‘Bicycle Song’ is somewhere on the edge, too and then there is a tale of religion and forest fires that is ‘Holy Budge Winters’. At the very end there are twelve seconds of silence, divided into three tracks (what?) before a “hidden”, uncredited track sung in Spanish.

Petunia himself plays guitars, keyboards and baritone ukulele and has an impressive cast of musicians with him, including his regular band, The Vipers. The music sometimes has the feel of carefully arranged discordance – ‘Gunned Down’ has sawing strings that match Petunia’s strained vocals – and sometimes of a band that’s having a lot of fun – ‘They Almost Had Me Believing’ is another slice of rockabilly with some sparkling electric guitar from Stephen Nikleva and lap steel from Jimmy Roy. By the end we’ve heard Americana, countrty, jazz and something that might have been derived from a mariachi band.

I’m not suggesting that you’ll like all the album – you may not like any of it – but you should take a listen.

Dai Jeffries

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