You know when people say things like, “Oh, you have to see this band live”? Well, Vintage Trouble is exactly what they are talking about. Their three (by my count) previous studio albums are great. No arguments. But if you watch them, watch Ty Taylor master his craft, then you’re watching something special. So much so, that listening to “Heavy Hymnal,” your imagination wanders to the stage they’ll play the songs on.
The album opens with “Who I Am,” effectively Ty Taylor’s state of the union address. He sings about his “mission and calling” on “What I Am,” and this drive is all over the quickfire delivery.
The track “You Already Know” is already cool, so the addition of the cowbell is a bonus. “Not The One” is soul-filled, with Ty’s voice perfectly suited for it. “Baby What You Do” offers more of the same, a summery sound with Ty’s falsetto adding a delightful touch. “Feelin’ On” is so funky it’d make anyone dance (well, maybe not me…..)
“The Love That Once Lingered” is a blues ballad and features a duet with Lady Blackbird. “We made love like prizefighters,” she sings. Maybe they wore gloves and got a belt?
“Alright Alright” feels like a message of hope, and at this point, the Springsteen comparisons hit you with full force on “Holla!” Bruce is 74 nearly, he’s not going to be doing the wonderful three-hour shows he did recently forever. These are the heirs to the throne, surely?
The lyrics “Back to the storm and my face to the sun” in “Shinin'” represent the bright side this album showcases. Even on “Repeating History,” which has a darker feel and where they despair at the world, Vintage Trouble seems content.
With “Heavy Hymnal,” Vintage Trouble have cemented their status as the premiere band of their type. No one else mixes rock ‘n’ roll and soul quite like they do, and they’re rather good live, just to underline it…..
This album could have come out at any point in rock ‘n’ roll history and still sounded fresh. It’s timeless rock ‘n’ soul at its finest. And we’ve nearly got through the whole thing without mentioning INXS (if you know…..)
Rating of 8.5/10.