Sunday, 21 June 2015

Album: Rayvon Pettis - Insureda

Rayvon Pettis Insureda

Rayvon Pettis, 'Insureda'

Info: Rayvon Pettis grew up in Ft. Payne, Alabama and served in Afghanistan
for a year with the army national guard before returning home and moving to Birmingham where he lived in a small very old slightly haunted apartment by red mountain and started making music. He performed with bands Liddy Rose and occasionally the Steel City Jug Slammers before starting his solo career. Pettis is an indie country guy whose styles are a mix of mid 2000s indie music 70's country and 90's Disney movies. He really digs among others Neutral Milk Hotel, Gram Parsons, Steve Earle, George Jones and Jason Isbell and talks
about them all too much. After doing another combat tour in Afghanistan Pettis moved to Nashville in 2015 and released his first album Insureda on the east Nashville label Delta Dime Records on May 18th 2015.

Insureda is a beautiful collection of indie / country songs brimming with charm and story-telling steeped in the age old tradition of country roots, each track tells a story and the combination of fiddle, acoustic guitar and rustic vocals make you feel like you are stepping back through time. Kicking off with the deliberately raw and tin can sounding 'Baby Blue', Pettis sets the scene with a love ballad, the pursuit of a beau across unforgiving rural landscapes accentuated with some lovely slide blues guitar. Second track 'Wild Eyed Daughter' gives the first glimpse of the musician's lyrical capabilities opening with the line 'You were watching Japanese movies, black-haired ghosts were screaming in the night, curled in the hallway opposite the night light, I said you are alright', the fiddle playing reminding me a small bit of some of The Waterboys instrumentals on Fishermans Blues

Rayvon Pettis Insureda

A certain highlight on the album is 'Kermit Song for Sam', an accomplished piece of music that could have been written 50 years ago due to its authentic feel, it's sombre, melodic and in a strange way calming all at once. No self-respecting country album can forgo a song about whiskey and Insureda is no different. Eighth track 'Another Whiskey' moves toward more contemporary alternative folk territories, with really nice vocals by singer and songwriter Grace Pettis providing a beautiful front to the haunting strings and rolling acoustic guitar, slight strands of Fleetwood Mac at this point. On 'Godflower' Pettis full embraces his musical background once again in a stripped-down acoustic and fiddle hootenanny that will have you subconsciously foot-tapping and transport you thousands of miles away to a Tennessee bar.

Truth be told there's not a bad track on the album which spans 16 songs, energetic title-track 'Insureda' conjures a mix of Tim Buckley and Neil Young vocals, as does the banjo-driven 'Wolves at the Door'. Old world and contemporary country music would admittedly be a genre I'm not overly familiar with, my minimal influences coming from the likes of Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan's forays into the area, but Insureda appealed to me on many levels and has me left looking to duly broaden my horizons.

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