Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues

Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs

Written by: BV on 15/12/2012 11:39:26

Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues is a country-rock outfit, primarily consisting of Billy Wallace and a handful of musicians he hired to record the album, entitled “Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs”. Generally speaking, the album is in all essence a roots album, with a touch of indie-rock added to it for diversity.

The album opens with the laid back “Bury My Burdens”, which is a straight up country song complete with jangling acoustic guitar, laid back vocals with a set of somewhat classic country lyrics and a touch of harp soloing here and there to complete the aesthetics of the track. The general vibe of this song actually turns out to portray the overall vibe of the album. – It is in essence laid back, relaxed and most of all authentic. In the track “Tucumcari, Nm” we are treated to a slight variation on this songwriting recipe, as a trumpet is introduced to the sound spectrum which gives it a really cool edge and makes the track stand out when trying to assess the catchiness.

Authenticity is a major point for me when it comes to country rock – and damn, this album actually does sound quite authentic. Normally, I would have a great amount of prejudice towards a “young” man playing country music, as it more often than not ends up shallow rather than heartfelt. Joyfully, however, this is not the case with Billy Wallace.

The mostly acoustic sound of the album is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. – In terms of strength, the acoustic sound provides the backbone of authenticity as Billy Wallace slowly and steadily croons and mutters his rather straightforward lyrics, accompanied by simple instrumental backing as to not distract from the what seems to be in focus here; the lyrics. The weakness however, arrives in exactly the same form due to the lack of variation when making a mostly acoustic record. Even though many a song has been written on an acoustic guitar, it does have a limited sound spectrum that ends up being rather simple and perhaps too straightforward – thus removing most elements of surprise, as well as variation.

In other words, Billy Wallace has managed to create an authentic sounding country record that is perhaps a tad too monotonous, but still contains some quality tracks. And while this album is certainly no tour de force in its genre, it is still a good effort that is in no way bad, just a bit monotonous.

Download: Noel’s Blues, Bury My Burdens, Tucumcari, Nm
For The Fans Of: The Wallflowers, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo

Release Date 06.11.2012
Mind Over Matter Records

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