High On Lonesome by Cale Tyson (EP)
Cale Tyson has written a collection of songs which suggest that he could dominate the traditional country scene for decades
wenty-fourteen is turning out to be quite the year for fans of country music. First up was Sturgill Simpson and his outlaw swagger and now Cale Tyson is here to pour a little old-time honky-tonk on proceedings. Over the course of seven songs the youngster from Fort Worth, Texas sings about heartache as beautifully as any country balladeer that has gone before.
Honky Tonk Moan introduces Tyson’s ghostly warble as he yodels over a backdrop of pedal steel and harmonies. If Hank Williams’ Honky Tonk Blues hadn’t made it back to his pappy’s farm it might have ended up sounding this mournful. This doff of the cap/Stetson to the classics is continued on Is The Flaming Burning Low, a lonesome tragedy that you could imagine Gram Parsons singing with The Fallen Angels.
Even with so much heritage running through his music there is nothing of pastiche about this collection of songs. Lost Gone Girl is a dose of sultry blues complete with a late night alone at the bar guitar solo and seductive backing vocals. The EP’s final track, Thorn In My Side, returns to the raw feel of the opening to create the saddest bookend imaginable and confirms that the good times hinted at on Not Missin – ‘You were nothing but a daydream’.
High On Lonesome will appeal to fans of Gram, Hank, Merle and many other country legends. But it is so much more than that. Cale Tyson has delivered a heart-breaking confession which suggest that a long career beckons.
Verdict: A modern country classic steeped in tradition.