As authentic or live albums go, this new release from Turquoise Willie just about encapsulates the essence of real-time music. Distorted Truths & Outright Lies is an album recorded in just a day and a half, without the use of a click track or any after effects designed to tweak or fine-tune the imperfections. Where some may fail to impress when their abilities are laid in such plain view, Turquoise Willie shine with immense and uplifting brightness. He Don’t Know bursts into the natural rhythm and raw energy of the band’s sound in the best possible way, convincing you of the power of passionate, soulful, unstoppable musicianship, and things just get better and better from here on in.
Hey Rollo is a song that keeps the good vibes flying high, it rolls out the superb swagger of a piano-led soundscape with an infectious riding bass-line and the now familiar, forever satisfying sound of the band’s lead singer. This piece showcases the hypnotic movements or patterns of classic blues-rock and roll, surrounding you in positivity, powerfully energizing you. If I Was Your Whiskey follows, breaking the mood down to the soft and seductive – a soulful, smooth ballad of sorts emerges. The vocal performance here is stunning, and the space surrounding the song really lets the sentiment sink in. The concept is somewhat bizarre yet captivating, there’s honesty and metaphor and thoughtfulness all working in unison, and what a performance. The story soaks into you, the high energy converts to reflective sadness – precisely the kind of song that would understand you on those lonely nights filled with regret.
The mood lifts you up again for The One That Got Away, musically – perhaps not conceptually. These songs offer up the very essence of classic blues rock and roll; the brightness and apparent joy stands in stark contrast with the underlying stories. The added benefit here is the crisp, compelling finish on these modern day recordings. This collection is a total blessing to turn up loud and escape to.
Moving on through tracks like Lorraine, the music just works – it’s the essence of a go-to playlist, and it’s difficult to process how few people have witnessed it so far. I honestly felt something of a Drifters vibe with these songs, it’s more melody than rock, more creative freedom and jazz than pop or industry confines. The musicianship is phenomenal, the piano playing, the varied drum lines, the bass, and that stunning leading voice. You start to crave a live show as you listen to these songs.
Things move in a slightly different direction for Sweet Soul Song and it’s a definite personal highlight. The live sound is immense here, the build-up is all encompassing, the chorus of voices, the simplicity of the leading riff, and once again that born-to-perform leading vocal just nails the delivery. The title an concept actually beautifully underline the very power of the song itself. Shack Shakin’ brings about a slightly more classic, organic, live-bar rhythm and feel, a light hearted string of lyrics tell the story and lead colorfully towards the hook.
It’s Been A Long Time keeps that ‘coming home for Christmas’ vibe alive, the smoothness and swagger pour out with soulful warmth. Ten Hole Soul follows and cranks things up a few notches – out come the distortion and the high energy harmonica solos. This is a stunning moment within the project, another that makes you wish you were right there in the room with the band. The track is so vibrant and enjoyable that you may barely notice the absence of a voice until it’s all but over. Fortunately Tongue Tied brings back that comforting, flawless performance for the penultimate moment.
This album has everything you need right now – great vibes, great stories, immaculate musical performances. Trouble Rolls Downhill finishes things off on a stylish high, a little space returns, allowing the natural rhythm and passion of the band’s creative input to speak volumes in a natural, genuine way. It really can’t be said enough how unmissable a live show would be, though at the very same time – this album offers just about as close to the real thing as possible. Turquoise Willie shouldn’t be a name you’ll forget any time soon – absolutely a project worth investing some time in. This is music to make you feel fantastic.