Gordie Tentrees “North Country Heart”
Tentrees doesn’t pull up any trees with this release, though he does continue to promise to
Jason Ringenberg has a great voice; in country rock terms its mixture of grit and growl, holler and hayseed is perfect. Tentrees sounds a lot like Ringenberg’s well-behaved cousin. The yelp and yowl is suppressed and similarly the music is corseted, it really doesn’t explode out of the speakers, it’s more bounding Labrador than alert hunting dog.
The title track peps things up with the addition of pedal steel and backing vocals from Sarah MacDougal which thicken the mix nicely, Patrick Hamilton is a blur of sticks and beats on the drums and Tentrees turns in one of his most convincing vocal performances. His writing contains little repetitive hooks that aren’t quite choruses but which attach themselves, tick-like, to your brain.
Tentrees is a decent lyricist, and I do like the use of repetition as a device. ‘Skinny Tree’ is especially effective in this. At his best Tentrees can link his lyrical invention with a smart tune; ‘Holy Moly’ is a good example, a sparking stream of banjo twinkles though the song. The first half of the record is strong; the opening ‘Gypsy Wind’ has the most Ringenberesque vocal and some lovely languid guitar. Over the course of the record the charm slips away and Tentrees melts back into the crowd. If first reviewed Tentrees some seven years ago and then I noted that there was something in him worthy of attention; it’s just not quite out yet and maybe it should be.