I know I am just a bit off but I can’t shake the feeling that George Jones and Tammy Wynette are behind the first few tracks of The Two Tracks’ Postcard Town album. Now I’m not saying these guys sound like Jones and Wynette, only that you could superimpose Jones’ and Wynette’s voices over those of Julie Szewc and David Huebner and they would fit— the harmonies, you know? I could see Jones and Wynette, in fact, busting into the country charts with either “Eyes On the Road” or “Lost In This Canyon,” with very different background arrangement, of course. I don’t know why I think that. They certainly don’t sound alike, The Two Tracks and Jones & Wynette. Maybe I am hungering for the past.
The Two Tracks are supposed to be one of the biggest things out of Wyoming, but truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anything out of Wyoming. That’s not meant in a negative way. Perhaps the talent left the State before striking music gold, perhaps the touring distances within that State alone prevented financial and commercial success. But, for whatever reason, I just haven’t.
I have now, though, and am loving it. There is just enough twang in the music to make it country (I would list it as country rock with influences) and just enough rock to make it interesting. Lay the voices of Szewc and Huebner on top and it is a musical banana split of consequence. You can hear it on the upbeat opener, “Eyes On the Road.” You can hear it on “Four Wheels,” each verse ending with the plaintive “I am alone…,” the harmonies neither too strong no too light but just right. You can hear it on A.P. Carter’s “Sow It On the Mountain,” the classic country hymn from The Carter Family (the only cover on the album). You can especially hear it on “Old Coyote Moon,” a vampish, slithering tune which has some of the best jazzy background I have heard of recent, guitars and cello bouncy yet floating. My God, I wish I could have been in the studio when they recorded it— the band dancing the light fantastic, the cello grooving, the guitars hopping from jazzy chord to jazzy chord with exceptional ease. Seldom do I find a song I want to hear outside the context of an album but I make exception with this one. The guitar chords are ghosts of what I used to hear from Steve Koski of Portland/Eugene’s legendary Notary Sojac back in the early seventies. That guy had a touch.
A certain amount has to be credited to Will Kimbrough, who not only produced but played on every track. I’ve been following Kimbrough for decades now, since he surfaced as frontman for Will & The Bushmen back in the late eighties, and will testify to his resume. The guy loves to play and never stops learning, swear to God. I am sure he loved playing these sessions. You can hear it.
Sheridan, Wyoming. I never would have guessed. You think it’s hard making a living playing music in Nashville or New York or Los Angeles? Try it in Wyoming. That is one big-ass damn State with nothing but wilderness between towns. Gas alone would bankrupt you. But The Two Tracks have made it this far. Their first album won acclaim from numerous critics and organizations. This one, I am sure, will follow suit.
Sometimes it’s all about the music and between Szewc and Huebner, The Two Tracks have some of the best. And voices. Szewc and Huebner’s belong together, at least on this album. And musicianship. It’s a music trifecta, sports fans. Damn hard to beat that.
Street date is May 19th, when it will be available from the band’s website (click here) and iTunes. And, yes, there will be vinyl, though its release date is different. Again, click on the band’s website link for more info. If’n I was you, I would put it on my calendar. It will be worth it.
Not on the new album but a favorite anyway. Just who is this Quinton King?