Tracy McNeil & The Goodlife
You Be The Lightning
Cooking Vinyl Australia
Across four albums, Tracy McNeil has woven a wistful strain of Americana that conjures up US West Coast country-rock and Australian East Coast sun-kissed FM pop. You Be The Lightning is her most realised and well executed iteration of that blend to date.
There have clearly been some big changes in McNeil’s life after the end of one long-term relationship and the blossoming of a new one. She documents the early yearning and desire, hopes and dreams of that new relationship, charting its progress with a romantic, heady and emotive soundtrack.
The guitars of McNeil and Dan Parsons (who both co-produced the album) jangle and chime, lead lines spiralling skyward, carving out both tough and tender melodies while keys add subtle depth and the rhythm section anchors everything perfectly. McNeil’s voice is in stunning form throughout, never overcooking the emotion, blending it with aching and sweet melancholy. So many of these songs sound familiar, steeped so strongly in a sound that references Fleetwood Mac, Gram Parsons and that point on the highway where country meets soul. The whole album is pure McNeil though, and songs like Not Like A Brother, Stars, Golden Age and Postcards are further proof of her standing as a world class songwriter.