Maurice Tani & Mike Anderson "Two Stroke" - Western Independent

During down time with his band Tani and bassist Mike Anderson played a series of gigs as Briggs & Stratton. That directly references the title of this album which is released under their own names. They are joined on several tracks by an additional guest on such diverse instruments as violin, pedal steel and mandolin. The songs are a mix of originals and covers, the best know of which would be Stephen Foster's Hard Times Come again No More and George Harrison's I Need You.

The album further underlines Tani's talent as a singer and guitarist as well as a writer. The themes are as diverse as on the Blue Line album but there is a greater consistency of arrangement as it is essentially just the two or three players in an immediate and intimate setting. There are songs that stand out immediately like Dancing With Devils and others that take a little longer to infiltrate the consciousness. 

You also get to listen to Tani's skill as a wordsmith which is notable, as is his strength as a singer. I had previously encountered Tani as a member of Calamity & Main whose 2003 album Honky Tonk Heaven was more rooted in that sound. Here Tani has a broader appeal as the sound is more acceptable to those who are less inclined towards the sound of the honky tonks and towards the broader folk/singer-songwriter sound that is presented here.


However between these two releases you can discern that there is something very tangible in the music of Maurice Tani that can only be applauded whether is is two stroke or of a bigger engine capacity.