Turner Cody and the Soldiers of Love Throw It Back to 70s Country-folk with ‘Friends in High Places’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Friends in High Places is almost assuredly the only Americana record coming out this year that takes just as much from the French indie-minimalist sound as it does from folk or country. The sound on the latest LP from Turner Cody and his band the Soldiers of Love is due in part to a prolific collaboration between the bandmates and Belgium producer/musician Nicolas Michaux. They all met four years ago on tour in Canada and have been collaborating off and on since. Michaux produced this latest effort, putting an emphasis on a more minimalist sound. The result is a solid, if at times repetitive collection.

“Boozing And Losing,” opens the set and offers a perfect prelude to what follows; slow-tempo-ed country/folk adjacent tunes delivered in no hurry. It’s a satisfying formula for the most part but starts to sound a little too familiar after 10 tracks. The album opener is easily one of the strongest tracks here. Certainly not a novice to the music world having put out 14 albums, Cody got his start in New York’s anti-folk scene collaborating with everyone from The Moldy Peaches to Jeffrey Lewis. There is even a tribute album in his honor: Songs Of Turner Cody. And while his voice is unmistakably the same on this album, the stripped-down nature of the arrangements marks a new path for Cody.

Theme-wise he and the band tackle some well-tread paths: love, nostalgia and coping in a modern world, but manage to do so with originality. But he also throws in a few character-driven songs as well, like on the dramatically brilliant song “Mr. Wrong,” (“I’m underneath the buzzards circling the sun/In the footsteps of an outlaw on the run”). Though the music has changed a bit from his previous records, his lyrics are still solidly anchored in his familiar influences of Townes Van Zandt and Woody Guthrie.   

Photo credit: Charles Paulicevich

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