According to their profile on the Greywoods Record website Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane have played 548 concerts in 11 countries since they first came together in 2014 (not that anyone is counting). With such an intense stint on the road under their belts it is easy enough to understand how their music reaches greater and greater heights. This year saw the duo release their latest album Grit.
Grit is a peculiar album simply because at times it seems as though it is grit by name and grit by nature. Harsh, quickfire songs like No Integrity Man and I Don’t Have a Gun seem to be heavy, gritty country tunes that burn through to strings of their slide guitar while a harmonica hurricane blows above. But then in equal measure there are soft, almost tender songs like Willie’s Diamond Joe and Lost which unveil a softer, almost sombre side to the duo. It’s a refreshing juxtaposition to the rest of their album and shows their versatility perfectly. No matter you feel about country, Grit is a classic and playful album that combines country and blues with their own unique and sardonic brand of humour. With songs like Craft Beer & Man Buns the pair reveal their own sarcastic warning to the youth of today about how they might feel looking back at themselves in the years to come. Citing their own opinions of the mullet and likening the effect of craft beer and man buns to the site of a tattoo on a roll of fat they pair express their opinions in a comedic way that is sure to leave you chuckling.
The music that the duo surround themselves is rich, vibrant and strikingly dextrous. The rapid-fire finger plucking in No Integrity Man goes by so fast that your mind splits in two trying to keep up with the tune coming from each instrument. Their instruments in themselves are reason enough to listen to this album as Tentrees and Haldane combine a wealthy combination of banjo, mandolin cigar box guitars, dobro and even musical saws. This heady combination is driven by just two astoundingly talented people which is a constant surprise as they produce this beautiful and stripped back country styling and combine it with their masterful art of storytelling. The result is an album rife with songs that will leave your feet stomping but also your mind running away with you.
Tentrees and Haldane mix their lightning snap instrumental skills with a dose of comedy that makes their words stick in your mind. Grit is an album that can make you think as well as dance and laugh, it seems to have a life of its own and as the pair bring their stories to life you start to see things in another light.
Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane · January-February 2019 UK Tour
Wed 30 London What’s Cookin’@ Leytonstone Ex-Servicemens Club
Thu 31 South Molton, nr. Barnstaple The Plough Hotel
Fri 1 Wellington, nr. Taunton The Beambridge Inn
Sat 2 Worth Matravers, nr. Swanage The Square & Compass
Sun 3 Worth Matravers, nr. Swanage The Square & Compass NB. Matinee Show
Mon 4 Brighton The Greys
Tue 5 Bangor, North Wales Blue Sky Café
Wed 6 Southport Grateful Fred’s at The Atkinson
Thu 7 Stroud The Subscription Rooms
Fri 8 East Barsham, Norfolk The Moonshine Club, East Barsham Village Hall
Sat 9 York House Concerts York
Sun 10 Coldingham, Scottish Borders Coldingham Village Hall
Mon 11 Glasgow The Doublet
Tue 12 Dundee Gardyne Theatre
Wed 13 Kelso, Scottish Borders The Tipsy Ghillie
Thu 14 Edinburgh The Bluebird Cafe
Fri 15 Alford, Aberdeenshire Piggery-Smokery
Sat 16 Aberdeen The Blue Lamp
Sun 17 Biggar, South Lanarkshire The Wee Gig, Arcadia Music Cafe
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Review by Joe Knipe