Record Of The Week # 4

January 28, 2017

Becky Warren – War Surplus

As a boy then one of the buzzes a teenager could get about his latest vinyl discovery was enjoying the fact that you were amongst the first to discover a bright new star. In effect, you were in on the ground floor before the masses discovered your secret find. Inevitably by their second stellar commercial success you had moved onto the next ‘secret’. This is where I am at the moment.

When I heard Becky Warren on this genuinely profound piece of work it was hard to grasp that this Americana artist was not huge. I heard her on the now much lamented but gone Americana Music Show podcast that brought so many unsung legends to my humble abode.

Based in Nashville she’s paid her dues and inspired by her experiences with her former soldier husband and his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service in Iraq. She had the talent, passion and insight to link some hard hitting brutal lyrics to punchy Americana rock. Exceptional tunes accompany each track. Tight rhythm and beautiful guitar that fills the gaps between her vocals.

We begin the journey into Scott and June’s life with his military experiences cutting through their lives like a knife through hot butter. In ways that are reminiscent of Springsteen and his searing and frank word pictures of everyday folk in low rent urban America then her take on the returning damaged trooper are done with exceptional deprecating insights and gallows humour. This makes the story live and you empathise with their lot in life.

The album starts with ‘Call Me Sometime’. He’s returned to Texas and is not the man he was. “Stay Calm, Get Low’ picks up on Scott’s active service and takes you into the soldier’s world of surviving on the front line. Flicking back to ‘Seemed Like A Good Idea At Time’ covers the decision to join up and the time you have to reflect ‘when you are 3,000 miles from a decent beer’. ‘Take Me Back Home’ reflects on the reality that home might not be San Antonio but back on the front line, a place where his skills and temperament fit.

This arrived at the end of 2016 and was an antidote to the horrific quantity of music talent that checked out during the year. With this then I’m hopeful for the future but how many other artists and their wonderful music are out there?

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