Tupelo’s debut album DIRTY MONEY conjures images of a sinister, gangster-filled speakeasy in prohibition-era Chicago as the band fire out tunes to stir men of ambition and menace and brawn. Tracks like Bad Man and Cougar Cat tell that tale admirably. Others like I’m An Irishman and My Family’s Land echo the storytelling sentiments of patriotic icons like Luke Kelly giving a focused insight into their roots and aspirations. Firefly, Railroad and Blue Gardinia are the rousing, party pieces of the set in all their foot-stomping, yee-haw glory.
Tupelo are an exciting, original, acoustic roots act consisting of an eclectic line-up of instruments which includes banjo, guitar, fiddle, double bass, mandolin, harmonica and Dobro. Their sound is fresh and unique in today’s world of endless electric outfits, Mumford and Sons could be seen as a comparison. Few musicians can successfully blend a number of diverse genres, creating a sound they can exclusively call their own.
Even fewer composers can craft songs of heart, conviction and true grit to bring the best out of such a sound. Their music is a flurry of roots, rockabilly, bluegrass, country, folk and rock ‘n’ roll… often displayed all in the same song. The band’s front man and songwriter James Cramer delivers a tough, honest take on bad times and good times, struggles and triumphs, high spirits and solemn hopes… all in his own untainted accent, all in his own untainted words. Tupelo owes its name to Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey album, a favourite of James and a massive influence on his song-writing. James says Emmylou Harris in part inspired the set up of the group. “I saw an Emmylou Harris performance on TV and I knew I had to have a fiddle in the band. It worked from the first song. You can search all your life and never find the right people but it was finally together and that was the start of Tupelo.”Amongst others, James sees The Band, Shane McGowan, Bob Dylan and John Lee Hooker as the biggest influences on the band. Being one of the hardest working bands on the road today means that Tupelo’s live shows are something special to look forward to. They can count Imelda May among their fans.
Imelda said of the band “They have a wonderful sound, great musicianship and fantastic song-writing.”
2012 has heralded the release of Tupelo’s superb album DIRTY MONEY, an album that captures perfectly their energetic live sound and should garner them a legion of new fans worldwide.
“…they have embraced the kitchen-sink approach to writing, building their songs from the ground up into thrilling folk-pop dervishes” Metro