Tami Neilson – Chickaboom! (Outside Music) 

Release Date: Out Now

Last year, Tami Neilson entered my world and ended being my favourite non-British female artist. This year, Tami Neilson releases the album ‘Chickaboom!’ and I am seriously considering filling out the citizenship paperwork for her and asking her to move in next door. You’ll see what I mean, let’s dive in as the album opens with ‘Call Your Mama’, a track so instantly brilliant that you want to burst through a set of saloon doors, stop the pianist and scan the room with narrow, suspicious eyes. The low guitar notes are pure Duane Eddy while the percussion rattles like a snake on a hot day and Neilson sings with every breath in her lungs – she knows no other way.

On ‘Hey, Bus Driver!’ we go full country with twangy guitars and a stomping rhythm before the excellent recent single ‘Ten Tonne Truck’ swaggers in with it’s fingers in its pockets and one hell of a glint in the eye – if you’ve not had the pleasure yet then you need this one in your life for those moments when you question your life choices. The vibe on ‘Queenie, Queenie’ is that of a jump-rope competition out in front of the stoop as the clicks and rattles of the rhythm provide a solitary backing for Neilson’s home-baked vocals to take centre stage. The sultry ‘You Were Mine’ was another triumphant single release of 2019 and it works perfectly at the centre of this collection, showing off a soulful and smoky side to the singer that adds another dimension of talent.

There isn’t an ounce of fat on this ten-track collection where only two songs creep over the three-minute mark and Neilson cuts to the chase – there’s no confusing what our heroine is singing about. Take ’16 Miles of Chain’, for instance, which mixes country and blues with a chain-gang vibe to tell a tale of a woman so desperate for a good man that she’s willing to descend to hell to do a deal in order to snag that man. You don’t get that from Justin Bieber now, do you?  The pace picks up on ‘Tell Me That You Love Me’ which has a Johnny Cash and June Carter vibe about it as it lickety-splits along with all the erratic energy of someone falling in love whilst being scared of landing.

Another single release from last year, ‘Any Fool With A Heart’, is up next but it could have come out at any point in the last 70 years as the Spanish guitars gently strum and the duet vocals croon like a sunset lullaby on a warm breeze. I’m making an assumption that ‘Sister Mavis’ is about Mavis Staples, a recent stage companion of Neilson, and there is no greater role model for women in music around at the moment. Musically, the song has huge, soulful country chops as Neilson sings “Make me moan, make me cry, stand up and testify, sing for Sister Mavis” atop those shuddering guitars and hand claps like a country band sharing rehearsal space with a Gospel choir. The album closes out on ‘Sleep’, the kind of gentle lullaby you want to hear as your eyes close on the best day you’ve ever had and the crickets chirrup in the mid-distance. Tami Neilson has started 2020 with an album that will stand tall at the end of the year and long beyond that as a superb collection of authentic, passionate and deeply infectious songs. Bravo indeed.

Live Dates:

1st April – New Morning, Paris w/Tanika Charles
27th April – Frannz Club, Berlin
28th April – Feierwerk (Kranhalle), Munich
30th April – Music Hall, Worpswede
1st May – Nochtspeicher, Hamburg
2nd May – Musik Theater Piano, Dortmund
3rd May – Museumkeller, Erfurt


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