Tupelo – ‘Push On’ – Album Review
Alt-folk act Tupelo has just given us a sneak peak to the sounds of their second album ‘Push On’. Forming in 2008, the band consists of James Cramer, Kevin Duffy, Damien McMahon and Paul Murray, four talented multi-instrumentalists. Tupelo blends their vast musical skill set along with a backdrop of varied musical backgrounds and influences from folk to blues, country to rock ‘n’ roll. The new album was created in Sterling Sound, New York produced by Joe Chester (Ryan Sheridan) and mastered by Greg Calbi (Bon Iver, Paul Simon).
Opening with ‘Old Country’, Tupelo sets the scene with its country-blues vibe as Cramer sings “ready and waiting”, simple and effective as the fiddle floats like bunting throughout the song and a finale that would encourage anyone to get up off their seat to dance. Cramer’s rustic vocal is decidedly Irish during ‘Ballerina’s Call’, the song while it is catchy, the pace is particularly slow. ‘The Shifting Ground’ is a lovely composition, clearly Irish and folk sounding with traditional instrumentation from whistles to banjos, sounding similar to ‘The Waterboys’ combined with ‘The Coronas’. ‘Patagonia’with its sweeping violin and plucking banjo is rustic edged, this combined with the band all singing in harmony, is a delight.
In ‘Wasting My Love’ the slow pace returns, Cramer softly sings ‘What happened to the girl I once knew?’ – this dangerously middle of the road sound is saved by the band’s fine skills as multi-instrumentalists. ‘The Hollow of the Hill’ paints a picture of Ireland, bringing forth all of the bands fine musical skill sets again. Another scene is set in ‘Roisin’s Land’combining Irish folk lovely whistles and wonderful guitarman-ship. ‘When the Cockerel Crows’ opens with a breathtaking uilleann pipe, whistle, fiddle and mandolin session, Cramer is at his best vocally during this song. While in ‘Yesterdays News’ this resounding sound of ‘Temple Bar’ returns, quintessentially Irish. ‘When The Night Falls’ is a traditional folk high, while in ‘I Am Not There’ they return to that safe, soft sounding place again. Tupelo are definitely a strong act, particularly when they focus on their more traditional skills, which is proven when they end on a high with ‘Push On’.
During their traditional folk style songs Tupelo delivers a fine album in ‘Push On’, which will garner them a lot of interest for the band, however work needs to be done on developing their more alternative contemporary sound.
Tupelo’s new album ‘Push On’ is due for release on Feb 19th 2013. – 3/5 stars
Review by Aine Byrne