Tami Neilson has long established herself as one of the finest local progenitors of Americana music since relocating from her native Canada to New Zealand. She’s scored numerous awards and critical praise and Dynamite! continues her magical run with her finest collection of songs to date, both in their spirited performance and superb songwriting.
Clocking in at a brisk 29 minutes this is an album that travels across most of the stylistic terrain that makes up the modern genre of Americana. Both the album opener ‘Walk (Back to Your Arms)’ and ‘Dynamite!’ channel the soul swagger and pout of Amy Winehouse, ‘Come Over’ is quick-fire rockabilly, authentic in its percussive clatter and reverb-laden guitar clang while ‘You Lie’ is a near perfect example of a tear-stained and love-lost country ballad with swooning pedal steel and Neilson’s voice full of melancholic ache and twang.
Delaney Davidson, Marlon Williams and Ben Woolley are all due credit for their vocal contributions with Woolley in particular impressing with his weary Townes Van Zandt croon on ‘Whiskey and Kisses’. Overwhelmingly though it’s Neilson’s voice that plays the starring role on Dynamite! Her control and range, from torch-song to sassy soul-funk, is such a pleasure to listen to.
This album will no doubt be a top contender for NZ country album of the year but it should equally be recognised on the world stage. To work in a traditional musical style(s) and transcend any notion of pastiche or cliche is no mean feat and Neilson has done it in consummate style.
this review was first published on Under The Radar