Between The Vines - All In / Driftwood
While it is undoubtedly a little disappointing that some of our American and Swedish friends will not be joining us at Buckle & Boots 2021, the last minute changes have offered opportunities to others. One such band who seem likely to grab their chance are Between The Vines, who have had their own festival appearances postponed this year, so it seems a strange twist of fate that has brought them to our attention.
They also just happen to have a new single out this week, the second from their forthcoming second album "Ain't Country Enough". Fronted by Rebecca Whitehead, with Kev Whitehead on drums and brothers Dave and Norman Higginson on guitar and bass respectovely they go to form a tight unit with a great Country sound.
There are a few things that hit you about "All In" from the very start, the first is the overall production, crisp and clear with very much a live feel, every instrument identifiable and no additional clutter, the second is Sarah Jory's prominent pedal steel playing, and finally Rebecca Whiteread's voice, which seems to have had a rockier past and has real character about it from the very off, built for every emotion.
"All In" has something of a classic country feel about it and the opening lines immediately touch on a subject that has always provided rich pickings for the genre, relationships and the rocky road they sometimes travel. Rebecca does a great job portraying the emotions involved, at first seeming quite adamant and defiant
"I don't have the time or the patience to check up on you when you don't call
I don't have the want or the need to be chasing a man that don't love me at all"
however later it seems this show of bravura has been shown many times before
"You spin me a line, I'll believe every time, though you talk with one foot out the door!"
The chorus is the final ultimatum and it is interesting to note how Rebecca chooses to tackle it each time, at first there is a standard country version, later there is a quiet impassioned plea and finally a super rock style vocal, each portraying her emotions in a slightly different light, for there is great passion there, mixed with great frustration
"If you are not all in, you are not in at all - you can't keep knocking me down, then breaking my fall"
The impatience is almost palpable and it is easy to imagine a make or break confrontation with Rebecca singing
"When you going to grow up and be a man
When you going treat me like the lady I know I am?", the addition of that "I know" really powerfully puts across the feeling that she knows she is better than being treated like this.
It all goes to make a powerfully charged single, and just listen for Sarah Jory's pedal steel accentuating the line about "deception and lies" it almost tries to escape the speakers, it is that piercing!
"Driftwood" by contrast is a completely different style of song, showcasing again a rich skill for story telling and great descriptive lyrics. Essentially there are two well scoped vignettes of people drinking alone.
The first a man we have all seen at some point
"stooped on a bar stool, eyes glazed over,
whiskey in hand".
If that was the outline sketch then the follow on lines complete the picture of this beleaguered figure, who automatically gestures for a refill
"Like an ocean of worries crashed down beside him
Left him behind like a wreck on the sand
Now he suffers in silence, craves no attention
Waits for the next wave to carry him home"
The second tale is of a woman sitting at the "dark table at the back" so intoxicated she does not even here the final bell and while "to busy concentrating on lighting her cigarette" comes fo a fateful end.
The link being that these broken solitary figures are viewed as unattached, the "Driftwood"
It leads us to the central lyric of the song -
"Hold on in life to those who make a connection, find the one you want don't ever let them go"
The sound veers from classic ballad country through to some Southern soul towards the end. Sarah Jory once again all but steals the show with her evocative playing and might well have gotten away with it but for Rebecca's vocals which bring the characters to life, so well rounded is her performance. It all points to their second record being something that is going to demand that it to be heard!
To see what all the fuss is about - Buckle & Boots Saturday Paddock Stage 4:15 - You won't be disappointed.