Out Into The Snow
Team Love Records
There’s a deep dark mystery in this disc of wordy yet heartfelt country songs. Simon Joyner has one of those rough, dreamy voices that sounds so good set against a steel guitar and a simple drum kit. I hear the usual intonations of loss and broken hearts, but then discover a cello sawing away, telling us that things are only going to get worse. “Why waste time learning to swim?” Joyner asks, and you think to yourself: “Hmmm… He’s got a point there.” In the 21st century world of Alt Country and the continuing revival of Hank Williams and Hank Snow and Hank Locklin, there are still original ideas for this quintessential American style to mine. While Mr. Joyner is completely at home with the stylings of gospel and the blues sounds of hayseed America, he injects a meaningful and innovative classical sound to this ever popular genre. No swelling orchestrations, no overblown symphonic arrangements, just the use of an instrument that’s not thought of as country, but one that emphasizes and extends the emotional content of an already dripping-with-meaning sound. His flat vocals sound like early Lou Reed, his arrangements slow down time to a Tom Waits pace, and his emotional arc starts low and heads lower than a Hadacol-influenced Bob Dylan show. Everything you don’t want to happen in your life is buried in this cautionary collection, and it reminds us that County Music is like the Blues — it shows the semi-well off how much worse things might be, and the down and out that they’re not alone.
Team Love Records: www.team-love.com