Tell Me Something Different/Self-released
The sophomore full-length album from local artist Sam Cregger is a real treat. Tracks like “Still Love” pit unending love against a backdrop of ambling Americana music that features some languid accordion to set the mood, while the simple, brief folk track “Discovering Roads” casts a wide-eyed look at past decisions. And in a neat bit of symmetry, Cregger revisits a fictional character from his debut album, Wanderlust, with the down-tempo Americana track “The Continuing Story of John Duphrane” as well as the country-tinged “Finding John Duphrane.” The former finds the gunslinger killing a man and realizing the dead man’s son is after him, while the latter focuses on Duphrane’s desperate attempts to avoid being caught. These two songs, which are fun and imaginative despite the dire situations they entail, are significant highlights. Cregger does a fine job combining his dusty vocals with appropriate amounts of emotion (“In the Dirt”) or exhaustion (“Doubts”), and proves to be a capable narrator whether his subjects are fictional or not.
It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the debut record from this local Americana outfit. Between the three relatives (Jimmy and Tommy Curry are brothers; Galen is their cousin) either trading vocal duties or out-and-out making the hairs on your neck stand up with fantastic three-part harmonies, there’s a lot of energy on this album. And as for the content, the guys touch on a variety of relationship-centered subjects like resisting infidelity (the bluesy pop rock number “Inches From You”), moving on from a past lover (the jangly rock track “You’re Getting Smaller”), or analyzing an unhealthy relationship (the rip-roaring bluegrass track “Wrecking Ball”). The folk track “How a Man’s Supposed to Die” extols the virtues of living life without regrets, but the title track takes the cake with subtle ambient noise and the Currys’ stirring vocals making for a solid debut from a promising new band.
Walk Through Walls/Self-released
The new album from Nashville’s Katie Herzig is quite the ride. Walk Through Walls is a synth-laden pop record that explores Herzig’s emotional range of ups-and-downs over the last three years. On one hand, you have “Forgiveness” which is a raw track that was the first piece Herzig wrote after her mother’s death from cancer in 2011; then you also have the hypnotic, Motown-tinged piano pop track “Drug” that examines the intoxicating effects of love. Dreamy numbers like “Summer” are engaging and have the sort of chorus that will stick in your mind for weeks, while the borderline trip-hop sounds of “Frequencies” are more subdued in their exploration of the courage it takes to follow your heart. Herzig is in fine form vocally, offering sometimes wispy, sometimes throaty performances as she sings about loving, grieving, recovering, and starting over. Considering the loss that fueled its making, the album is more uplifting than you would expect, and strength shines throughout.