Friday was a big day in a small town – Lindeville is now firmly on the country music map. Here you will find memorable characters and hear hilarious stories you will recognise no matter where in the world you’re from. Brought to life by some of the best songwriters in the business this stop may just be a short diversion for most of the featured artists but Lindeville will surely stay in their memory for a long time.
If you’ve ever been sceptical about the Nashville collaborative songwriter tradition then allow this album to convince you not only of its merits but also its necessity. Every artist on this album sounds like they’re having a blast, freed from the constraints of whatever they’ve been trying to become in their careers.
Ashley McBryde has her name in lights here as the ringleader of this act but for most of this album she’s happy to step aside and let others shine. The riotous beginning of ‘Brenda Put Your Bra On’ drops us into the trailer park, right in the middle of someone being caught cheating. From that moment on the drama and hilarity never stops thanks to the brilliant cast of Caylee Hammack, Brandy Clark, Pillbox Patti (Nicolette Hayford), Benjy Davis, Aaron Raitiere and Brothers Osborne (John also produced the record).
Adding to the sense of fun and frivolity are the interludes like ‘Dandelion Diner’, ‘Forkham Funeral Home’ and ‘Ronnie’s Pawn Shop’. Sure some of these ideas have been heard on other recent records by many of these artists but rather than feeling like retreading old ground ‘Lindeville’ is more like them celebrating the lyrical tradition of their musical pasts.
‘The Girl in the Picture’ is an anthem for anyone who hasn’t quite made it, never quite escaped the limited confines of their upbringing. Pillbox Patti may sound like a comical name but there’s a Pistol Annie style sass and sadness in her delivery which never allows the story to become a caricature.
Humour though is never far away and who better to sell a tongue in cheek tale than Brandy Clark? ‘If These Dogs Could Talk’ is a perfect country ballad with bite and bark. Brilliant.
Country duet albums are unfortunately out of style right now but ‘The Missed Connection Section’ shows that really needs to change. Brandy and Aaron sound like they’re having the time of their lives on this one.
Now it wouldn’t be a country album without a little Jesus and ‘Gospel Night at the Strip Club’ could be straight out of John Prine’s back catalogue such is the quiet compassion shown. ‘Jesus Jenny’ is another which owes Prine a debt, telling the story of the hot mess title character with a similar sense of kindness in Aaron Raitiere’s delivery.
The real barnstorming standout of the album is future classic ‘Bonfire at Tina’s– a hymn to the small town women who show up when you need them. Forget about ‘Stand By Your Man’, this one torches a man to the ground (or his belongings anyway). As you listen to the song you can already see the phone lights going up the air and hear the crowd singing every word.
Ashley finishes the album with a celebration of Lindeville and all who call it home. Really though she’s singing an ode to the songwriters who work behind the scenes, observing, writing, helping someone else shine.
Like The Marfa Tapes before it, this side project is as moving and memorable as any mainstream country album you will hear all year.
LIGHT IT UP!
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