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Cale Tyson

High on Lonsome – 2013 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Cale Tyson

It's almost spooky the way Cale Tyson seems to resurrect the wandering spirit of Hank Williams and bring it back to life. Although a relative newcomer - his previous output consists of a self-titled EP and a handful of singles - Tyson manages to channel the core of a honky tonk tradition and recreate it with stunning aplomb.

Not surprisingly, Tyson followed the same trajectory as many of those who came before, Willie and Townes included. Raised in Texas and now residing in Nashville, he plows similar roots on practically every one of "High On Lonesome's seven songs, particularly the mournful steel guitar embellished Honky Tonk Moan and the tears-in-beers laments like Thorn In My Side, Old Time Blues and Lonesome In Tennessee. The titles are unapologetically self-descriptive and predictable to a point, but Tyson carries a air of authenticity that thankfully eliminates any suspicion of posturing or pretence.

The one deviation from the template is a minor one, but striking nevertheless. Long Gone Girlstirs up a more atmospheric ambiance, much like the trappings Chris Isaak employs when he too emulates older icons. It may provide a clue to Tyson's further moves if he attempts to break out and put more of an individual stamp on his style. Indeed, that's a move well worth considering in order for Tyson to be able to distinguish a sound all his own. Regardless, what he's given us here is a disc flush with obvious intent, and a work filled with admiration and inspiration that's stunningly well hewn.