Thursday, May 28, 2015
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: IAN TYSON - CARNERO VAQUERO
Tyson continues to add to the language that he invented back in 1986 with the Cowboyography album. This is more modern art for that most traditional of people, the ranching community of the west on both sides of the border. This cowboy music isn't the old tales of the Roy Rogers characters, these folks drive trucks as well as ride horses, and deal with mortgage holders far worse than rustlers. But the spirit and history of the west still informs the music, just as nature still dominates the lives. Some things change, some things stay the same.
At 81, Tyson's putting out albums at a pace that embarrasses bro-country stars a quarter of his age. So there's no need to quibble over the inclusion of some covers and re-makes here, especially when it gives him the chance to sing the classic Will James again, his tribute to the Quebec-born, Saskatchewan-raised convicted cattle rustler-turned-cowboy artist and author. It's one of his very best, a personal look at how western tales inspired his life, and of course continue to be passed on.
The five brand-new songs show Tyson still at the top of his lyrical power, spinning stories of romance, hardships, hard work, hell and high water. Most exciting is a new co-write with Tom Russell, his closest comrade-in-song from south of the border, the pairing that brought us the beloved Navajo Rug some 30 years back. Wolves No Longer Sing also features on Russell's new album, a themed collection about the west. It's about modern change, with children selling ranches and urban sprawl swallowing up open land, about the idea that its all been sold for next to nothing. But there's hope at the end, that nature and music will return. These tough western guys are all poets at heart, you know.