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ALBUM REVIEW: Tami Neilson – Kingmaker

TAMI NEILSON

KINGMAKER

MGM

Tami Neilson’s career trajectory continues its impressive ascent as she emerges from the pandemic with an album that both celebrates women and challenges their treatment and role in society, particularly in the music industry.

Neilson further explores her openminded approach to country music, whether it’s the Bobby Gentry-styled Southern noir and country soul of ‘Green Peaches’, the minimal blues chant of ‘King Of Country Music’, the strident Waits-like syncopation of ‘Ain’t My Job’ or the widescreen string-laden drama of ‘Baby, You’re A Gun’ and ‘I Can Forget’. The latter explores grief, as does the Willie Nelson duet ‘Beyond The Stars’, a tribute to her father and Nelson’s recently departed sister Bobbie. The common thread is Neilson’s incredible voice, equally at home in country, blues, funk and soul.

Across her previous four albums there was a sense of Neilson distilling and evolving her craft, building her audience one country at a time – New Zealand, Australia and now North America. In 2022 Neilson is a true international artist with the experience and creative nous to stake a claim as one of her generation’s finest.

Kingmaker is a landmark addition to the modern Americana landscape. Seeds planted, change exalted. Consummate songwriting and impressive musicality delivered with fierce conviction.

CHRIS FAMILTON

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