Whiskey - The Toy Hearts
The Johnson family of Birmingham have been torch bearers of American roots music for some time now, and this album is soundclash of their passions. However, what differs here is the swing element dominates, with a crystalline, electrified approach, which Stewart and daughters Hannah and Sophia have strongly hinted at previously. This genre's combination of country, jazz, jive and blues can sound a little lifeless in the wrong hands but The Toy Hearts are a tenacious bunch and inject an urgency which doesn't let up. Now, supplemented by a gifted rhythm team, fiddle and piano, it makes a big statement.
Fiery riffs and crackling drums define a series of liquor related originals as a landscape of bars and lonesome lyrics flash by. Playful banjo accompanies Hannah's gutsy tour de force vocals on 'Pass The Jack' and the title track tells it like it is: 'whiskey won't take the taste of heartbreak from my mouth'. Cleverly sourced covers hit a rockabilly high on Ronnie Self's 'Big Fool' with Sophia's guitar taking the spotlight. And Stewart's pedal steel underpins a sonically vital version of Wayne Hancock's 'Thunderstorms And Neon Signs'.
You'll soon be juke joint jumpin' on a Saturday night!