An acoustic collection of some of Tyler’s favourite cover songs mixed with his own songs. Alan Tyler has shown his commitment to his take on country music through his involvement with the Rockingbirds, an English country rock band who played the music in the 1990’s when it wasn’t exactly flavour of the month. They released their first self-titled album on Heavenly back in 1992 and disbanded in1995. Since they have reformed and produced two further albums.
In between Alan Tyler has carried on under his own name and this album is the latest release. Recorded with fellow Rockingbird Patrick Ralla on guitar, banjo and vocals as well as Jim Morrison playing fiddle and mandolin. It features the songs Dark River, Down To Deptford Creek, Essex, Long Time No See and The Fields Beneath - all Tyler originals. This release appears to be an expanded version of an earlier release that has added the covers of The Streets Of Baltimore, She Thinks I Still Care, Tecumseh Valley, Return Of The Grievous Angel, True Love Ways to make up 10 tracks.
Now it’s not the easiest thing in the world to take on songs that are often ingrained in the memory (in one version or another). However Tyler has a distinctively lived in voice that has a warmth and charm that makes hearing these songs in this setting a simple pleasure akin to a home singalong. Classic covers seems to be a thing these days and some such albums work better than others. Not to take away from the playing and performance on this set which would be worth hearing for the originals alone, but hearing the other (cover) songs are something of a bonus. Alan Tyler clearly loves this music and is working on a new Rockingbirds album that will add the power of a full band. The Rockingbirds have always added a specifically English element to their take on the music, which is to be applauded.
While this album would appear as something of a stopgap to promote and sell at live gigs it affirms Alan Tyler as a solid cornerstone of contemporary country in the UK. Someone who isn’t just producing carbon copies of American country but something more personal and with a real voice. The show goes on.