Psychobilly band, Tiger Army’s lead singer and guitarist, Nick 13, released his first full-length solo album in June via Sugar Hill. Now, don’t be fooled into thinking this is going to sound like another Tiger Army record because it isn’t. Nick’s solo effort is an addictive collection of retro country arrangements with a touch of rockabilly and enriched with guitar, pedal steel, and upright bass. But, it’s his smooth and easy vocals that perfect these vintage countrified tunes.
Like every good country record, Nick 13 contains songs about death, travelling, gambling, and love. The album’s first single and best track, “Carry My Body,” has a wild West feel. When listening to the track, the galloping bassline and ominous pedal steel creates an image of Nick riding a horse into a Western town with tumbleweed blowing through the empty streets ready to do battle in a gunfight. However, the song is really a morbid reflection on life, both past and present, and the thoughts one may have before death. And, the essential travelling-themed track, “101,” is a rockin’ mix of rockabilly and country making it a great road anthem of freedom. “All Alone” is another wonderfully nostalgic country song about travelling and lost love with flourishes of pedal steel, a lonesome fiddle solo, and a standup bass that mimics the chugging sound of a train.
On his solo effort, Nick 13 smoothly transforms from the punk psychobilly into a country crooner, and, nothing exemplifies this more than the album’s two revamped Tiger Army tunes. On “In the Orchard,” Nick keeps the essence of the original but slows the tempo turning it into a nostalgic slowdance. But, on “Cupid’s Victim,” Nick tones down the Tiger Army rowdiness creating a new country classic.
Whether you’re already acquanited with Tiger Army or not, Nick 13’s solo album does not disappoint. Its 50s vibe has an air of familiarity while his voice falls easy on the ears converting even the staunchest of country music haters.
— April D. Wolfe @ Common Folk Music