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the Barnhart Blog - Tami Neilson - The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol II, a Review

Joel Barnhart
February 15, 2011



I was at work one day, discussing music with my friend Jay. He mentions that over the course of the summer, he produced two albums. This piqued my interest, not only because this was unbelievably cool, but also because I write a music blog, and am constantly on the look out for things to write about. I told him this, and asked if he could bring me copies of the albums so that I might review them. The next day he brought me those two albums. This review is for one of them.

The album starts strong with the catchy Hey Mama. Structurally simple, with just a harmonica, stomp box and vocals, it's a short, sweet piece of soul that evokes images of the American South. Neilson's voice is powerful and lets you know right off the bat that she's not f**king around.

Once she has your attention with Hey Mama, the second track comes in and sets the tone for the rest of the album. It's a softer, slower country track, featuring acoustic guitar, banjo and lap steel guitar. Now, when I say country, I don't mean this pop-country bulls**t that's been saturating the airwaves the last few years. I mean the good old fashion, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Shooting-Men-In-Reno-Just-To-Watch-Them-Die Country music.

The fourth and fifth tracks, This Town and Rust bring the tempo down further, heartbreaking ballads of loneliness, reminiscent of Janice Joplin. No Good For My Soul picks up the pace again, and gets you ready for a fantastic cover of The Beatles' I've Just Seen a Face, that quite frankly, I enjoyed better than the original. I'm sure there are people who want to lynch me for that statement, but you know what? Listen to it and tell me I'm wrong, I dare you.

The album finishes on an equally strong note, with The Bottle & Me and Take Me Home, and an a capella cover of Don Gibson's Sweet Dreams.

As a whole, the albums sounds fantastic, especially when you take into consideration that the majority of it was produced in a kitchen, hence the name of the album. Tami Neilson currently resides in New Zealand, but was raised here in Canada. She and Jay were raised in a family band, the Neilsons, and this early exposure to music is evident in the sheer talent and skill that went into creating this album. As an added bonus, while going through the insert, I noticed that on the back, there's a recipe for Pheasant Pie that I will most certainly be trying, as soon as I find out where the f**k to buy pheasants.

You can check Tami Neilson out at tamineilson.com, and tune in next week
for my review of Jay's album Johnny Confidence.


- Joel Barnhart -
Tami Neilson