Home Sweet Hotel - Fatea UK
Its gentle start to an album of road ballads, and tunes inspired by a life spent in the saddle, touring, pushing her subtle, clever country roots across the highways of the US and beyond. The title track, an ode to the sanctity and relief found in hotel / motel rooms for the working musician is testament to White's time spent banging on the door opened by the likes of Lucinda Williams whose guitarist features across the record, to electrifying effect. In fact the albums rampant musicality lies at the heart of its greatness, and it is great. Rightly lauded by the likes of the Telegraphy as one of the best country albums of the year, I love its diversion away from convention drums as percussion, 'Love Cures' thunderous gong being a case in point. Throughout this approach embellishes, even supports White's haunting vocal.
Don't misconstrue her often quiet demeanour or slightly shuffly vocal, it's a muscular depth and subtly that only serves to deliver a rabbit punch when you least expect it (and a damm earworm). There is a knowing avuncularity to the record, a sly nod to the listener, a pre-assumed knowing of where she is coming from, it's part of its joy - you're welcomed in, part of her gang, a new friend made.
This is the sort of country that resonates so firmly in the UK, and part of the reason why East Nashville artists do so well here. We don't really get the beer n' trucks of music row, but artists like White provide us Americana, literate, full of fruity retrospection, dark moments of the soul - less red dirt more rainy days.
The record's essential charm is that although gloriously sophisticated and heavyweight, it's not showy or pretentious, it engages, beguiles and flatters the listener, and once its barbs are in you you'll feel like you have owned it for ages - a master piece.
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