Album review – VINTAGE TROUBLE ‘1 Hopeful Rd.’
What even is this album? Witchcraft, probably. Magic, certainly. Or maybe science fiction: some kind of timewarped version of the past, come back to tempt us with its lush, alluring sounds. All I know is that ‘1 Hopeful Road’ is a marvel, like listening in on an alternate, retro universe with Vintage Trouble skilfully and confidently blending together r&b, soul, and rock, pouring their own heat and passion into every track and lyric.
There are tunes that are so smooth you feel like they barely touch the ground, like the silky and caressing ‘From My Arms’, and the exquisite ‘Doin’ What You Were Doin’ – a tune that makes the world better whenever I listen to it.
‘1 Hopeful Road’ also contains a good shot of Vintage Trouble’s “live-wired, straight-shootin’, dirty-mouth’d, pelvis-pushing juke music” with foot-stomping R&B rockers like ‘Run Like The River’, and ‘Angel City, California’ – “that’s where I found this soul I now call mine“. Or listen to ‘Strike Your Light’ and ‘Another Baby’- tracks that are all heat and fire and raucous joy.
Whether smooth or raucous, Vintage Trouble’s music and lyrics convey all shades of pain and passion, love and despair, hope and hurt. And many tunes here are irresistible gems of musical craftsmanship, like the happiness-inducing ‘My Heart Won’t Fall Again’, or the devastating ‘Another Man’s Words’.vintage_2
Unabashedly retro, yet never derivative, Vintage Trouble have their own thing going on, and it’s easy to understand why they’ve been recruited to open for such bands as The Who and AC/DC. Front-man Ty Taylor’s vocals are amazing – all sweetness and heat and power – and he can amp up the passion and pain just enough to wound you, as well as please you. With Nalle Colt’s effortless skill and power on guitar, and Rick Barrio Dill’s bass and Richard Danielson’s drums rippling beneath it all, this is a finely tuned crew: they get the most from each tune, with just a touch, just a nudge, just a thrust and pull here and there.
Vintage Trouble is a band that can legitimately invoke the name of people like Otis Redding, James Brown, and Tina Turner, and not come off as delusional. To use the band’s own words, they are “turned on by and tuned into the evolutionary period in music and life when there was a razor thin line between Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll”.
While this is a softer, more laidback release than ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’, it has its own kind of magic, keeping me happily spellbound throughout.