Music Review: Lindsay Fuller and The Cheap Dates – Lindsay Fuller and The Cheap Dates [self released]
Seattle based artist by way of Alabama and Texas, Lindsay Fuller plumbs the deep, dark well of Southern Gothic narrative and, with the help of her excellent band the Cheap Dates, hauls up a mossy bucket of songs splendid in rich narration and bitter in their wretched fates. Southern Gothic yarns are bleak by design but reveal simple tales of moral beauty without being moralizing. Guilt tugs at the mind but crimes are inevitably committed and silver is pocketed. Fuller is a craftsman of such tales and sufferers no lazy couplets or threadbare allegory.
The album takes off like a freight train with You Can’t Go Back to Where You’ve Never Been. A barraging tale of a hard start (“I was baptised by the spittoon and the chamber pot at three/and I never saw the faces of the ones who conceived me”) leading to a desperate man hurtling head first into a violent, hard destiny.
The tempo cools to an icy stretch with Good Country People, a bittersweet folk ditty about a drifter motivated by insecurity to the theft of a prosthetic leg and the palatial yearn of My Dark Tower, which features exquisite guitar work by Jeff Fielder. Before I Sour begins fittingly with a church organ but is punctuated by eruptions of rock blasts to vast away the shadows. The spare beauty of On Holiday showcases Fuller in her powerful, open nerve of a voice.
Unlike many that use the Southern Gothic style in music Lindsay Fuller is not about camp and irony but is a dead-on wordsmith singing dark but beautiful tales of common people in hard times in sometimes peculiar circumstances that are told in a way that seem like it’s as natural to them as rolling out of bed in the morning, and then killing the neighbor.
The CD cover has Fuller standing in a field. Wearing a simple cotton dress, axe in one hand and an old fashioned typewriter in the other. This is a perfect visual metaphor for the work contained within. As Winter covers this morally wavering Nation with a cold, grey blanket sit back with a Cormac McCarthy or William Gay book and put on Lindsay Fuller and The Cheap Dates as a fitting accompaniment.