Technically this cleverly presented record is an amalgamation of Cale’s two Ep releases to date which merge into a fully-fledged style album for those hooking into the sound of an artist blessed with precise interpretative skills. Whether this aptitude for absolute re-creation is natural or nurtured by a lifelong schooling in classic country song writing, the result drips, drools and oozes with a lethal cocktail of sombre, longing and solo barroom odes. The seven tracks from HIGH AND LONESOME form the first part of the album and possibly provide the pick of the numbers which will sear your heart right from the opening listen.
Take your choice from ‘Old Time Blues’, ‘Lonesome in Tennessee’ or the evocatively titled ‘Honky Tonk Moan’ for standout track, but in all seriousness each of the magnificent seven is a priceless gem on their individual merit. Swaying between foot shuffling waltzes, pedal steel to die for and a vocal style drenched in a wonderful emotion sapping twang, the experience of immersing yourself into this record should contain a warning against reaching for the drinks cabinet.
The six tracks from the equally splendidly titled other EP, CHEATER’S WINE, inhabit the second part of this record and far from being intimidated, make a great case for rivalling the opening half. ‘Get out of Town’ and ‘Fool of the Year’ head the best from this section as the rich vein of Gram Parsons at his tear jerking country best is omnipresent through the sound and aura. The fact that Cale has written all these songs suggests the classic art of penning in the style of Williams, Parsons, Clarke, Nelson and Van Zandt is far from consigned to the past. The recording of this music has also benefited from some of Nashville’s finest players who have worked with esteemed artists such as Marty Stuart, Don Williams, Caitlin Rose and Andrew Combs.
While Sturgill Simpson has been ripping through the wider music world with a similar style, it has to be noted that Cale Tyson is a far less complex version, but equally compelling in his ability to extract every sinew of how country music is meant to be. Quite simply Cale is the real deal and this supreme collection couldn’t be better put together to enthral an audience thirsty for untainted, pure and iconic country music. The product, the championing and the opportunity are all in place to make Cale Tyson a welcome visitor to the UK and this record deserves every grain of adulation heading its way.