Michael Carpenter has always had one foot in the the world of country music and the other in power pop and rock. He’s also incredibly prolific as a producer, songwriter and musician – alway with multiple projects on the go. His latest is a collaboration with The Banks Brothers (Zane and Jy-Perry) who have built themselves reputations as guitarists par excellence. On Introducing… the trio go deep into traditional country and honky tonk with virtuosic playing and a keen ear for an infectious hook.
The vocals are shared between Zane and Carpenter, providing some nice contrasting moments given the latter’s more nasally Petty-esque sound compared to Zane’s softer drawl. There are also a couple of really nice guest vocals from Lozz Benson. While the album sits firmly between the lane ropes of traditional country music, there’s more than enough dynamic interplay between Jy-Perry’s consummate and thrilling pedal steel, Zane’s lightning licks and effortless ease of playing while Carpenter’ multi-instrumental ability sees him locking down a tight rhythm section plus rhythm guitar and keys.
Highlights of the album include the communal vibe of ‘Honky Tonker’, the western noir of ‘The Lonely Rider’, the back porch acoustic shake and jangle of “These Arms’, the thrilling instrumental showcase ‘Brothers’ and the rougher-edged rock ’n’ roll of ‘100 Miles To Go’. This is an album that impresses due to the trio’s collective playing that is so damn good but never at the expense of the songs from which they soar.