On January 26th Red Pine Timber Company released their second album Sorry For The Good Times. The band are based in Perth (the Scottish one) and play a vibrant Americana. They were formed in 2009 by Gavin Munro, originally as a loose collection of musicians and songwriters. They have evolved into a band playing major venues, with a big sound that having eight core members allows them to create.
In the video of ‘The Hollow Tree’ you can hear those component parts come together and feel how this makes them a sought after live band: the interplay between Munro’s singing and the backing vocals, the horns adding the energy of a soul band in full flight, the mandolin and fiddle in their turn taking lead, all of which move the track some distance beyond simple Americana. All this in support of a lyric about stolen love and meeting “’Neath the hollow tree/Where you can make love to me”. What’s not to like?
On ‘Put Down The Bottle’, (also on YouTube) you hear the equally striking voice of Katie Whittaker, a lovely Americana twang with a cry in her voice. It pulls you into the heart of this song of a woman trying to understand her man in drink and pleading “if you want to be a good man/ put down the bottle” – an old topic delicately played and sung. There is also a genuine jolt to the listener from the song’s swearing, just as appropriate as it is in ‘Working Class Hero’.
The album maintains the standard of these two tracks from the drive of the opening track ‘If You Want To’ to the equally lively ‘Cutting You Loose’ and ‘For The Angels’ and all the way to the quiet gentleness of ‘After You’ or the more droll ‘Bar Stool’. This latter song ranges from the humour of “As soon as I can find the door/I guess I’ll just be moving on” to the hurt of “I can smell despair and pain/And in that ragged company/Another bar stool waits for me”.
The final song on the album is heart-wrenchingly human, the man’s side of a dialogue with his partner. The listener initially hears him give general words of support from a distance “Dry your eyes…when I get this done I’m coming home”. As the song finishes though, you realize that the heart of the call is to give support to his partner because she nearly crashed the car “with our babies in the back seat” – the demands of their lives (distant work?) toying with her loneliness and fear and his helplessness to do anything other than offer words. The situation is captured in very few words against a yearning vocal and tune.
The band describe their genre as Americana Country – but the Americana sound is enhanced by the Celtic sound of fiddle and mandolin from their Scottish origins and by a potent horn section which gives some real zest to their music. Lyrically, the characters who populate these songs could be anywhere, simply telling their tales of relationships and the human condition.
‘The Hollow Tree’: