Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nudie: “Everything’s Different In The Night” (2016) CD Review

It was more than a decade ago that Matt Putnam formed Nudie And The Turks. And when he went solo, the name Nudie stayed with him. At the end of 2013 Nudie released his first solo album, Remember This, one of my favorite country CDs from the last several years. He’s now followed it up with another excellent CD, Everything’s Different In The Night, which features mostly original material. Like his previous CD, this one boasts some excellent songwriting. I love these lines from “That’s All That I’ve Got”: “Bathroom’s just down the hall/My money’s all gone/Did everything wrong/The heartache you brought/Is all that I’ve got.” Joining him on this new release are Chris Altmann on pedal steel, lap steel, electric guitar, fiddle, piano and organ; Rob Foreman on bass; and Justin Ruppel on drums. And he has a couple of excellent guest vocalists on a few tracks.

Nudie kicks off the new disc with “It Ain’t Gonna Happen Today,” which oddly has a false start. But once we’re past that false start, this track is one of my favorites. It is a playful country number with some really good lyrics about procrastination in divesting one’s self of certain habits, such as cigarettes and alcohol. And then: “And when I find the strength to leave you/That’s when the good times will really start/I’ll finally know what it feels like for a man/To walk around without a messed up heart/I’ve been living with the pain too long/You’d better listen to what I say/It won’t be long before you see me walking out the door/But it ain’t gonna happen today.” It’s followed by “The Royal Tavern,” which has a more serious sound and is about a man who is betrayed by both wife and kin. I love Nudie’s vocal delivery here; there is a sadness, a weariness there, perfect for the character of this song. “My wife started screaming, I could barely hear/All I had on my mind was eight or nine cold beers/Tonight I’ll cash my check at the Royal Tavern.” This is a seriously good song that tells a good tale. “At the end of the night you’ll be glad that you’re living.

Sylvie Smith joins Nudie on vocals for “Mr. Why’d You Come To Texas?” This song is a strange and sweet duet, in which the woman asks the man why he came to Texas if he can’t dance. There are some delightful lyrics, and I particularly love this line, which Sylvie sings, “And help me forget in three quarter time all the things that make me blue.” By the way, Sylvie Smith sang with Nick Ferrio on one of my favorite songs of 2015, “Come Hell Or High Water.” And you might know her from Evening Hymns and The Magic. And then Melissa Payne joins Nudie on backing vocals for two tracks. (Melissa Payne is, of course, a damned good singer/songwriter in her own right. You should check out her 2014 release, High And Dry.) The first of these two tracks is “Island Girls,” which has something of a pretty sound, in large part because of the blending of their voices on lines like “Come on home/Can’t make it here alone/I miss your smiling face/And the warm safe place/I felt in your arms/I miss all your charms/Things we use to do/No good without you.” Nice, right? Melissa Payne also joins Nudie on the CD’s title track, “Everything’s Different In The Night.” Check out these lines: “When daylight comes, our words slip away/We thought this time they might last until the day/But all that’s gone now that the sun’s in the way/Everything’s different in the night.”

The only cover on this release is “If You Really Want Me To I’ll Go,” written by Delbert McClinton, who released the song in 1965. Nudie’s version is quite good, and largely faithful to the original.

“I’ve Been Here Before” is one of my favorites. It has something of a Johnny Cash vibe. It describes an interesting relationship, with a woman who is slightly less than faithful: “It’s not her to blame/Because I have no shame/I’m happy about what she’s dishing out/Monday morning I know that I’ll be king/When I’m allowed to fulfill all her needs.” Ryan Weber joins Nudie on trumpet on this track. Another song I’m really fond of, and another about an unusual relationship, is “I Had To Learn About Sheila The Hard Way,” which also has my favorite title of this CD. “When we met I was down on my luck/I fell hard for her looks and her pluck/That she mixed with a vulnerable air/Sometimes needy, sometimes seeming not to care/I had to learn about Sheila the hard way.” I also really like this line: “Each day with her was akin to a dare.”

“Train, You Took My Baby” is yet another highlight. It has a late 1960s/early 1970s country rock vibe which I love. If you enjoy bands like The Byrds, you should definitely check out this tune. “Train, you took my baby/And I’m starting to think maybe/That I may never see that girl again.”

CD Track List
  1. It Ain’t Gonna Happen Today
  2. The Royal Tavern
  3. Mr. Why’d You Come To Texas?
  4. That’s All That I’ve Got
  5. Why’d Ya Do It?
  6. If You Really Want Me To I’ll Go
  7. I’ve Been Here Before
  8. Island Girls
  9. I Had To Learn About Sheila The Hard Way
  10. Hearts & Flowers
  11. Train, You Took My Baby
  12. Everything’s Different In The Night
Everything’s Different In The Night was released on April 22, 2016.

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