Friday, 14 September 2007

Review: Texas Tea - Whiskey and Wine EP

Texas Tea's latest effort, 'Whiskey And Wine', doesn't stray far from the bands previous efforts, but when the duo of Kate Jacobson and Ben Dougherty come up with songs like this there's no need to tamper with the formula. 'Whiskey And Wine' takes in the whole spectrum of Texas Tea's influences. From the Dylanesque intro, the quiet singer/songwriter verses, and the blues-drenched chorus (half-attempt at a gospel choir included), Texas Tea takes us on an aural journey through middle America. Lyrically 'Whiskey And Wine' is a run of the mill heartbreak song, and Kate's vocals are reminiscent of any number of country singers. All up, 'Whiskey and Wine' is a good song, but the band is not breaking any ground here.

The band follows the lead track with a trio of covers. The first of these, 'One Silver Dollar', is a lacklustre folk song which leaves the mind as quickly as it enters. Much better is the live cover of Mary Gauthier's 'Our Lady of The Shooting Stars'. Ben's work on the guitar stands out on this track, as it does on the cover of Gillian Welch's 'Look At Miss Ohio'.

Continuing with the live tracks is Texas Tea's own 'Winner Makes The Graves'. Featuring vocals by both Kate and Ben, 'Winner Makes The Graves' is the standout track on the EP. The song is much removed from the straightforward love song of 'Whiskey And Wine', with the lyrics being deeply in debt to the work of Nick Cave.

Following this is another live cover, this time of Aretha Franklin's 'I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You.' Texas Tea take this old R'n'B song, remove the rhythm (most likely necessitated by the lack of a rhythm section of any sort), and amp up the blues. The result is a steamroller of a track which showcases the amazing vocal abilities of Kate. Listening to this cover makes you realise how much more Texas Tea are capable of.

The band finishes off with another recording of 'Whiskey And Wine', this time with only Kate and Ben playing. This version doesn't improve on the first in any way and should definitely be put in the 'filler' pile.

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