The Tin Heart Troubadours play what they call American parlour folk music; a light but musically rich Americana. Most of the songs on their debut album, Collected Short Stories, are written by lead vocalist and guitarist, Nigel Orme except for ‘The Place You Love The Most’ which is written by keyboard and Dobro player Steve Clark. The musical underpinning comes from Clare Pastorius’ cello and all three sing. They are augmented by a string quartet which means that the fiddles of Beverley McInnes and David Brittain are free to add an extra dimension.
Despite singing about St. Paul and San Francisco bay, the band is actually from East Anglia but they carefully avoid being too specific about locations. Take away the American trimmings and the songs have a universal appeal so ‘Nickel On The Ground’ is as much about getting by in this country as anywhere while ‘Poison Snake’ is a country retelling of the Garden of Eden story brought up to date by the tale of a faithless woman.
‘The Letter’ is a song of love gone wrong decorated with Dobro and strings and, as with several of the tracks, the string players conjure sounds that send you searching the sleeve again to see what other instruments are involved. I must praise Steve’s sliding and picking, though, it’s the element that really lifts the record – just listen to the playing on the lovely ‘Waterfall’ if you need proof. The album’s big dramatic moment is ‘The Wreck Of The Nancy Louise’, a song that begins in Whitby and reaches its conclusion a thousand-odd miles away in the southern ocean and it’s probably my favourite track with its tongue-twisting melody and stark imagery.
Collected Short Stories is an excellent debut album from experienced musicians combining their skills in a new way. I’m hoping that we’ll hear a lot more of them in the future.
Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/thetinhearttroubadours/
‘Poison Snake’ – live and relaxed: