BY: IAIN SHEDDEN
From: The Australian
November 12, 2011 12:00AM
RATING: 4 stars
THIS is the third album from Australian roots chanteuse Tindley, a talent underexposed thus far and one who deserves greater recognition on the strength of Time alone.
Based in northern NSW, Tindley upped sticks to record this 12-song collection at the Adelaide studio of roots duo the Yearlings (Chris Parkinson and Robyn Chalklen).
Parkinson produced what is a beautifully stripped-down affair, mostly, with subtle instrumentation leaving the intoxicating, melancholy tone of the songwriter to shine through. That voice sits somewhere between Lucinda Williams's brighter moods and the sweeter, fragile beauty of Natalie Merchant.
Of the mellower moments, accordion gently underpins the ambling waltz of Slow Dance, while the opening Golden drifts on a sea of brushed snare and acoustic guitar, offset by Tindley's breathy vocal.
Yellow Moonlight, an angsty rumbling blues, ups the pace, while Highway drops subtlety in favour of a bluesy bar-room stagger, with Richard Coates's piano to the fore and Chalklen on backing vocals. Coates's accordion gives the following song Love a slightly Cajun sheen.
The centrepiece, Country Girl, tells a familiar tale of farmers doing it tough ("like the wheat on the plain I will bend with the wind") and its mid-paced weariness veers closest to the Williams oeuvre. The full power and emotional reach of Tindley's voice is best displayed on an a cappella version of the same song reprised, a fine end to a fine album.
Time well spent
Time - Sara Tindley
Reviewed by Les Thomas
The twelve songs that make up Sara Tindley’s third album Time cover a vast range of emotions with a beautiful lightness of touch and vulnerability in her writing and phrasing. Sara’s voice is easily comparable to Lucinda Williams’s, but with less gravel and whisky.
Produced by Chris Parkinson of labelmates The Yearlings, the sounds are intimate and warm with instrumentation that supports to songs perfectly but never gets in the way.
Golden opens the album gently with a story of longterm lovers reconciling their different natures. Yellow Moonlight explores the great themes of sex, desire and death with primal drums and guitar lines that sound like the musical equivalent of Viagra. The Polynesian sounds of Sara’s ukelele on the title track evoke warm Pacific currents and sunshine.
Sparse banjo, organ and percussion, create the soundscape for Water Run Red which tells the harrowing story of an Indigenous mother and child escaping a colonial massacre. At the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, Highway is an upbeat blues number with swinging Jerry Lee Lewis style piano.
If you’re looking for an album loaded with love, musical beauty and poignant life lessons, you won’t go wrong with Time.
The Age | Country
Sara Tindley - Time - Three and a half stars
Country music is 95% sentimental tosh and 5% poetic truth telling. Sara Tindley, rare in the Aussie country music fraternity, belongs to the discriminating and memorable 5%. Her lyrics are thoughtful and her delivery, particularly when set against a simple musical background created by South Australia’s alt.country quartet The Yearlings, is tinged with warmth and emotional honesty.
Her subject matter ranges from the personal to the political. There are songs about love of country life (Country Girl, Nights Falling), youthful foolishness and revenge (Yellow Moonlight), the problems created by intense love (Golden), massacres of Aborigines (Water Ran Red) and the destruction of rural Australia (Highway). This is a sublime musical marriage.
The Yearlings play with thoughtful sensitivity and Tindley sings with such touching sincerity and honesty she deserves to stand beside Kasey Chambers as Australia’s best female country singer.