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Tony Wright & Ryan Hamilton – 'Grand Ole Otley' Album Review


1. Jolene

2. Oh, Lonesome Me

3. Family Tradition

4. In The Pines

5. Whiskey River

6. Wayfaring Stranger

7. Wild Horses

8. Every Time I’m Kissing You

9. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

10. Lost Highway

On paper it shouldn’t work, I mean Terrorvision front man Tony Wright and Texan Ryan Hamilton of Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors. It could so easily have been a comedic Country album too, a parody. It isn’t!

'Jolene' opens up the proceedings, a stark piano led affair, vocals by Tony, and he really unexpectedly has the perfect voice to carry the weight of the song. The hairs are up on the nape of my neck (as they were when I was one of the lucky thirty odd people who watched them play it live in Tonys coffee shop in Otley). Ryans more gentle vocals adds an ethereal feel to the song. My heart is already breaking, my eyes are welling up and we are only into track one.

'Oh, Lonesome Me' has Ryan and Tony sharing vocals, madly enough for such different voices it absolutely works, they complement each other so well. This album just continues to deliver. It's everything you want it to be and more!

'Family Tradition' adds a touch of humour, but then that’s what the song is supposed to do isn’t it. Ryan gets to belt this one out with Tone on backing vocals (plenty of Wah wah wahoo). The musicianship should also get a mention on this album. The piano, guitars, fiddle are all harmonious and right for the songs, they are not overcooked.

'In The Pines' (Nirvana covered it, also known as 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night') sees Tony back on lead vocals, not as stark as the Nirvana version but in my humble opinion it’s better! Those hairs on my nape? Well they are still standing up. The choice of track listing has been carefully thought out or has been a happy accident as it doesn’t dwell, it doesn’t let you get too despondent or too much humour all together.

'Whiskey River' feels the most Country (if that makes any sense), plenty of slide guitar, fiddle and Ryans Texan twang certainly adds to the feel of it, once again lead vocals are shared by the unlikely duo.

'Wayfaring Stranger' darkens the mood with its booming intro and Tonys deep voice, I’m picturing myself in the wild west, tooth pick in the corner of my mouth, Stetson pitched back on my head looking for desperados! Even Ryans vocals are mean and moody.

Next up is 'Wild Horses'. Now Ryans voice is not unsimilar to Neil Young and it fits this song like a glove, I’m welling up again. (seriously! This album is not for those too in touch with their emotions) the backing on this song is understated and showcases the vocals giving me the shivers!

'Every Time I’m Kissing You', that classic song of being done wrong by your gal. Shared vocals again, that beautiful slide guitar. It’s truly brilliant, I need a hug!

'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' is a song not to be messed with! And happily they don’t. Tony delivers for me the best performance of the album, something very hard to do. Tears are literally flowing now; it’s so hauntingly brilliant, and delivered with reverence.

'Lost Highway' closes for me an almost perfect album, maybe an absolutely perfect album in fact. Ryan this time shares vocals with a female singer (not sure who at this point) as well as Tony. It brightens the mood just enough to make sure you finish the album with a smile.

I’ve been through an emotional rollercoaster with this album, the way a Country album should be.

Review - Andrew Forcer

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