20 Dec 2018
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Tony Daunt and The Dauntless - Album Review: The Gypsy

02 Feb 2017 // A review by Peter-James Dries

They don't make music like they used to. Or at least they didn't before Tony Daunt and the Dauntless hit the scene.

While this isn't entirely true - Tony "Danger Trouble" Daunt has been rather prolific in his career, most famously known for his work with Swampland - but this collectives debut album, The Gypsy, was my reintroduction to a style I'd rather forgotten about.

Seemingly modelled after Elvis era pin-ups, their music, and their style, are a little bit of Country mixed with good old fashioned Rock n' Roll. The sound the whole hip world would still be digging if the sixties never made way into the seventies, with the Nixon and the fuel embargoes, Vietnam and that god awful Disco. If the South had won the war.

But to call this album Country would take something away from it, and do The Gypsy a disservice. Sure, there are diehard fans of the genre, no doubt the players heard on this here record, but for the rest of the world, that word has negative connotations

Part of my modus operandi as a muzic.net.nz reviewer is to take on reviews outside my comfort zone. The Gypsy was one of those albums. Though I have to admit I do have some background in country music, spending my early days as a young audience member on the Taranaki Country Music circuit. These songs take me back to those days of waiting for that one configuration of singers that really outshone the rest, with the female backing and the whine of the piano accordion.

Where does one even find a piano accordion/pedal steel these days, let alone learn how to manipulate one? It's a distinctive sound, one that doesn't play kindly with too many genres, but when you find one it does fit, it adds a whole extra layer and a wave of nostalgia and longing for the good old days when the beer was cheap and the cars were built like tanks.

For me the stand out track was a toss-up between Gypsy and Momma, with the former only just winning out.It is the slowest, most pensive of the tracks, delivered with a gravel tone in the style of Nick Cave and a vibe like his song Henry Lee. Perhaps it's the familiarity of the songs that appeals to me, as if having that frame of reference enhances my experience.

Even without my background in country, it's not a stretch of an alt minded music consumer to enjoy this album. After all, it's not that far removed from the music of brooding Nick Cave, rocking ZZ Top, the sch-clack-clack of man in black Johnny Cash or Kenny Rogers' "the Gambler", the latter two enjoying an unprecedented revival over the past decade.

I can see a place in the hearts of those who listen for Tony Daunt and the Dauntless, a band out of time, with a style that's stood the test of the aforementioned.

The Gypsy will be released February 10th. You will find it on the Tony Daunt and the Dauntless Bandcamp Page.

 

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