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ALBUM REVIEW: Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross

JAIME WYATT

NEON CROSS

New West Records

Back in 2017, Jaime hit the scene via her Felony Blues EP which documented her rocky road through drug addiction and jail time. She’s taken that statement of honest and raw songwriting and put her name up in lights with its exceptional followup Neon Cross.

Produced by Shooter Jennings, Neon Cross is an album takes classic honky tonk, late-night bar laments and lush 80s country heartbreakers and polishes them with a modern sheen. It all works perfectly as Wyatt (and guests, Jennings, Jessi Colter and Neal Casal) looks back on the trials and tribulations of her past, including coming out as a gay woman – subject matter she sings about on ‘Rattlesnake Girl’, with lines such as “I see my sweet friends out on the weekends, they all look happy and gay / They keep their secrets all covered in sequins, people have too much to say.” 

One of the many highlights is the devastating ‘Mercy’ with its atmospheric guitars, piano and pedal steel elevating Wyatt’s plea for an easier life. Stylistically she fits comfortably alongside local songwriters Tracy McNeil and Ruby Boots, while on ‘Just A Woman’ (featuring Jessi Colter), she embodies the tone and spirt of k.d. lang. The old and the new, the tough and tender. This is one of the finest contemporary country albums of 2020.

Chris Familton

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