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Friday, 9 September 2011

Record Review – Piney Gir 'Geronimo'

Damaged Goods

Kansas City's exiled contemporary queen of the heartland returns with
album number five. Recorded in Hollywood far from her adopted homeland in the UK and produced by Rob Campanello of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Geronimo! sees Piney stepping out without her regular accompanists The Country Roadshow with backing instead provided by a pool of musicians including members of Brian Wilson's band. With its wide range of detectable influences and its finely worked abundance of style Geronimo! feels like a latterday relative of the sort of mid-late ’60s female singer songwriter albums that might have once upon a time seen the light of day on labels like A&M, Liberty or Buddha.

While it's Piney's engaging vocal presence that first grabs the listener by the arm Geronimo! broadens the scope from her justly celebrated country roots by incoporating a more eclectic approach as demonstrated in the contrasting moods of the album's 13 tracks. This at times eccentric jigsaw of sources and
references includes at various points echoes of Jackie DeShannon ('Outta Sight'), what sounds like a previously unreleased backing track from Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band's Safe As Milk
sessions ('Here's Looking At You'), what could pass for Astrud Gilberto lounging out with the forementioned Magic Band ('The Longest Day Of Spring') and the unmistakable chiming resonnance of The Byrds ('WouldYou Be There'). And so it continues on the lovelorn balladry of 'The Gift' and 'Stay
Sweet' the former complete with an exhuberant brass section to the fore on the outro, 'River Song' – a revamped hoedown seasoned with lively flourishes of fiddle and accordion which includes the self-effacing line 'I'm just a girl from Kansas City' and the jaunty 'Let's Get Silly' which gallops along like a runaway square dance.

Arguably saving her best for last Piney signs off with the hauntingly reflective 'Say Goodbye'. It's a tailor made album closer which somehow along the way manages to press into service what sounds like a
passing Mariachi band as the song builds towards its final melancholic climax. Now if a patchwork of styles like this isn't motivation enough to make you want to listen up it's difficult to figure out exactly
what will.

All things considered, with its sophisticated performances and the sheer inventiveness of the songwriting Geronimo! captures the personality of a quite extraordinary girl from Kansas City. Pine on Piney! Pine on!
Grahame Bent

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