Tuesday, March 7, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: BEHIND THAT BIG RED CURTAIN - A TRIBUTE TO AL TUCK
Here's one that's all the rage on P.E.I., and needs to get picked up in many more spots. The Island's Al Tuck is always referred to as a songwriter's songwriter, so it's no surprise that so many lined up to tip their and hat and take a stab at his intriguing and wildly original material. It's also no surprise that it sounds just as good interpreted as country, folk, rock, electronic and pre-50's pop music.
Apart from a few folks in this 16-track epic, the bulk come from the Island music community that has embraced and supported Tuck over the years. Classic country singer Nudie picks a good one, Stop Hittin' On Louise, tapping into Tuck's empathy for the injured people in society, and understanding of barroom culture. That goes for Brother From Another Mother from Nathan Wiley too, although that one's a rock and roll celebration of the customer/bartender relationship.
There are good friends of Tuck's as well, including Halifax's Tyler Messick. He does a bang-up job on Only Just Rehearsing, showcasing the deceptive nature of the tune. It starts as a lazy number, and a first verse that seems almost ad-libbed, admitting this song is just fooling around. But soon, the music rehearsal becomes a relationship metaphor, a brilliant turn in its obviousness and cleverness. It's the art of writing laid bare in all its glory.
Dennis Ellsworth brings his marvelous, haunted-heart vocals to February's Snow, a song as chilling in its break-up as it is beautiful in its melody. KINLEY (Kinley Dowling of Hey Rosetta!) deconstructs Evil Eye, and makes it magical. In a lengthy set full of wildly different takes on the music and strong performances throughout, it all points back to long-standing excellence of Tuck's writing, and why he continues to impress new waves of songwriters who cross his path.