Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New Music 2016 - Part 22 - Cale Tyson - Careless Soul

While this is about a forthcoming LP, Careless Soul is the first full-length by American artist Cale Tyson, it is also a very appropriate vehicle for the continuation of a number of themes concerning the music industry that I have espoused over a period of a few years.

Cale Tyson - Careless Soul (Clubhouse Records, 8 April 2016).

Cale Tyson, born and bought up in Texas, now calls Nashville his adopted home.  Both these facts, perhaps unsurprisingly, have had a considerable bearing on his music but in ways that are either not immediately apparent to the mainstream Nashville music industry of the major labels or not to its liking for artistic (and by implication audience) control...
There is a great deal of tradition involved here - this is country soul - but very little pastiche. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL, at Fame Studios and with top-drawer acoustic musicians. This is part of a wider revival and indeed re-invention of traditional country subject material. Careless Soul comprises twelve songs:
  • Staying Kind
  • Somebody Save Me
  • Careless Soul
  • Easy
  • Traveling Man
  • Pain in My Heart
  • Railroad Blues
  • Dark Dark
  • High Lonesome Hill
  • Gonna Love a Woman
  • Pain Reprise
  • Ain't It Strange
A fact perhaps more surprising is that it will be released in the UK before its North American release. In the last decade the change in attitude in the UK towards this kind of music - let's group it under the broad church of folk, roots and Americana just for the purposes of the here and now - has been nothing short of seismic. The traffic in artists has been bi-directional. A look at festival line-ups either side of the Atlantic, for 2016 or in the previous few years, will soon show that to be true.
Why has this happened?
Well I certainly don't know that, but it appears not to be a result simply of a single generation. Both artists producing such music and the audiences attracted by them have been becoming younger without, unusual historically-speaking, alienating older listeners; it pains me to feel I ought to count myself amongst the older listeners. The most encouraging thing is the egalitarian nature of the younger ones and the everyone-has-something-to-bring attitude to all this.

Cale Tyson came to the wider attention of UK audiences in 2015 when Clubhouse records released Introducing Cale Tyson, which is a complete synthesis of his previous two EPs/mini-albums High On Lonesome (2013) and Cheater's Wine (2014) that had only had official US releases.
As a taster, because I like it and it displays some of the old-time flavour, I have chosen this original song:

'Old Time Blues', the song later appeared on the High On Lonesome EP, live in Nashville, 26 March 2013.

Should you be wondering who the backing vocalist is, on the left as viewed here, it is Erin Rae and she releases her début album Soon Enough together with her band, as Erin Rae and The Meanwhiles and again through Clubhouse Records in the UK on 3 June 2016. I mentioned it here a couple of months ago. The pedal steel player in the above video, Brett Resnick, is also one of 'The Meanwhiles'.
I think it important that music is starting to rediscover that there is real value to be found in simple links like this. Music as a space to be shared by all those involved, from musicians to audience, rather than dog-eat-dog, short-sighted exploitation. That is another reason why learning to trust artists, independent labels, festivals and one's own instinct is coming to the fore again as a community aspiration after far too many years under the patriarchal hegemony of the major label system.

Added April 7, 2016:

Cale Tyson and the making of Careless Soul.

Another example of the change that all this represents are the possibilities provided by crowd funding. My next post is likely to be about an album made possible that way.

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