On his second album, Suffer In Peace, singer/songwriter Tyler Farr is doing his damndest to make sure that ol’ Dixie rises again.
Farr is one of the more modern and charismatic singers out of Nashville in a decade or so. His nasty take on country grunge on C.O.U.N.T.R.Y. and Better in Boots has trashy appeal that owes more to dirt road honky tonks than the Grand Ole Opry. Minus the clichéd titles, they’re earthy bits of country-rock fusion.
Farr has a great voice for tough sounds and he wisely or instinctively keeps distance between “aw shucks” tearjerkers and his material.
Like any good country boy he’s gotta get serious about something. He takes a realistic look at bingeing and love in vain on I Don’t Even Want This Beer. Farr elicits empathy, not sympathy, and the dark-edged ballad lays bare his plight.
In accordance with the keepin’ it real spirit of Suffer In Peace, Farr brings us some de rigueur autobiographical slices of Dixie life (Raised to Pray and Poor Boy). They’re just southern slices of Americana with traditional overtones of melodrama.
It wouldn’t be a real country album if it didn’t have a sentimental ballad or a barroom anthem. Why We Live Here and Suffer in Peace are opposite ends of the ballad spectrum.
Why We Live Here regresses to stereotypical baseball, Bibles, hot dogs and Chevrolet imagery and the other track is a contemplative acoustic track. Let’s just say that one of the songs is more relatable.
A Guy Walks Into a Bar is a solid gold modern country song in between an anthem and a ballad. It’s got sentiment but is redeemed by a stripped down arrangement and a candid vocal hook.
Farr’s everyman persona is audible in his delivery and gives the track down-home magic.
– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews new releases for The Morning Star every Friday.