by Andrew Liles
OUR GRADE: B
The long awaited second album since 2015 from Saskatoon’s Tucker Lane is out and ready for the masses. TL is a roots/Americana outfit featuring Universal Honey power couple Leslie Stanwyck (vocals) and Johnny Sinclair (bass) capably supported by Warren Medernach (drums), and Brent Carlin (guitar). The sophomore release Random Fireworks on a Beach Obscured by Trees brings a country twang infused rock hybrid that is a curious blend of Tom Petty and The Pretenders, but with TL’s own signature twist on it all.
“Paper Wings” is where Stanwyck’s distinct Chrissie Hynde styled voice floats over Sinclair and Mernach’s driving rhythm section. It's a great track built around well orchestrated chords that will stick with you after you hear it. Then there is the signature honkey guitar of Carlin which makes “Stevie Nicks Freedom” a guaranteed two-steppin' good time. This energized track is one that you will raise a drink to and raise some hell while doing it. “Ghost” stands out as the somber and thoughtful ballad which showcases Stanwyck’s effortless, yet haunting voice. Lyrically, it is a departure from the mostly upbeat offerings of the rest of the album but it also serves to underscore the impressive display of the songwriting versatility which this band possesses.
Tucker Lane delivers a memorable album and made a 5 year wait well worth it. This is an album that people will turn to when they need that country fried pick me up to get the good times started. It is straightforward and will satisfy country rock and classic rock fans equally. While it does not break any new ground, it doesn’t really matter. These are quality songs written by quality musicians to entertain you… mission accomplished.
Band photo by Warren Rutherford