The latest album from the Tucson, Arizona based singer/songwriter finds him in a rockier mode than of late in his solo work, or in his collaboration with Kevin Costner and Modern West. For this album, Coinman has assembled a tight band that includes Teddy Morgan on guitar and vocals and Neil Harry on pedal steel as well as Brandy Zdan on harmony vocals. The album was produced by Morgan and Coinman and has a tough exterior that rocks, while the songs reveal some thoughts about love and inner strength. In That’s What You do For Fame he muses on his own path and the moves made in pursuit of the elusive dream. Then by way of contrast the song Oklahoma City looks at the city and how the atrocious bombing there still affects many who had a direct connection to the devastation. Trusted Friend values real friendship while As She Fades Away with My Love watches love and friendship dissipating and fading.
Coinman has written all these songs with Kostner, bassist Blair Forward and Morgan or on his own. Both of the latter two have played on previous Conman albums. The words bring sets of different feelings to the surface and, while the overall sound is more roots rock, there are moments of reflection like the closing Hey Man What About You, where band is still there, bringing a quite power to the song. There are times when one is reminded of music from the 60s through 80s, but it feels like it is made for now, rather than an exercise in recreating something. The central element here is Coinman’s voice, which has the strength of someone who has lived life and learned what his voice is and what it is for. There is a little grit in there that adds an edge.
Although its Coinman’s name above the door, this feels like a band and he gets the support from the assembled players that gives the songs their drive. There are underlying hooks and choruses here that make the songs memorable, from the opening title cut with its repeating guitar motif through Sky Full of You, which also has a strong guitar part under Coinman’s characterful vocals. While this music is treading a well worn path, its strengths are not in its originality, but in the way these performances deliver on many fronts and give the listener something to bite on. Already Are is a fine album.