Record Of The Week # 120

Jeremy Pinnell – Goodbye L.A.

Pinnell’s a care worn tattooed troubadour from just south of the Ohio River near Cincinnati. He’s accumulated a loyal following in the USA and UK by constant touring. The sound is electric with a groove and includes excursions into honky tonk, various styles of rock and the Country sound also inhabited by artists like Reckless Kelly (Cody Braun contributes fiddle here) and Boo Ray.

The songs, he says, in an interview with Country Music People’s Chris Smith last month, are about relationships and travelling, which inevitably impacts on everyone’s life. From his lyrics you’ll have no doubt he’s lived every moment. With a tight band he delivers ten songs of personal observations with an insouciance that suggests he’s learned to live with the scars he’s collected along the way. 

Pinnell’s musical charms fall into a number of areas; a lilt and groove that grabs you from the get go, the varied propulsions of Chris Alley on drums, the beautiful electric guitar leads of Junior Tutwiler and Jonathan Tyler that light up the songs between choruses, a fine ear for a hook and, lastly, his off the cuff words. Doing My Best  tackles the problem of a musician trying to make a living and ploughing on regardless of the realities “I ain’t doing no good, I’m just doing my best.” Amen to that.

The songs were arranged and developed in a group situation led by producer, Jonathan Tyler. This has added to the quality of the arrangements where there’s a real sensitivity to the feel and mood they’re creating. The heavy southern rock vibes of Cryin’ are underpinned by some swirling organ that gives the track a different sound as some clunky bass and electric guitar licks get your feet moving. Nighttime Eagle is pure honky tonk with a twangy guitar. It’s all about coming home to the family. He’s of an age where long nights and hell raising are becoming a memory.

The single Wanna Do Something is a driving song where a steady Tom Petty rhythm with drummer, Chris Alley, providing the platform as Pinnell provides the melody and tells us he wants a change from the hard life of being on the road. You can feel his frustration at spinning his wheels in the same rut week after week. To showcase his voice Red Roses is a blue eyed soul ballad about a weary relationship that once sparkled; again the lead guitar is a tasteful delight.

Everything about Pinnell suggests, like the ’68 Buick Skylark in his promo video, he’s steady rolling yet classic and channeling a great American heritage. You’ll read about a lot of love for this release. It starts here.

(I just had to add a note about where Pinnell lives. Folk from Kentucky like to play the card that their State is special. Kentucky has the ‘back in the woods’ and dirt poor hilly billy image beloved of many Country artists. Believe me in the east I have seldom seen such deprivation and squalor. However, the further you head west the more homogeneous it becomes with routine urban America. Pinnell hails from a suburb of Cincinnati in all reality. I cycled through the city in 2015 and crossed the mighty Ohio river going south by a bridge that took me into more urban sprawl. I’d crossed from Ohio into Kentucky though. It sticks in my memory because I remember getting to a restaurant at lunchtime and pulling out my iPad to discover Cilla Black had died: another part of my youth had perished.)

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