The Sound Cafe
Australian Singer-Songwriter Dan Tuffy Set To Release Third Album 'Country Star'
By Stevie Connor. Photo Credit: Kate Atkinson.
Australian songwriter Dan Tuffy’s third album “Country Star” is a significant departure from his last two records “Songs from Dan” (2016) and “Letters of Gold” (2020).
Both these releases highlighted his passion for violating genre boundaries and demonstrated his utter disinterest in repeating himself but “Country Star” abandons even more pretence of keeping it familiar. The glorious opener “Don’t Smoke in Bed” gently lures you into well-trodden alt.country territory before tilting you sideways and dropping you off upside-down somewhere else altogether.
The haunting extinction lament “Firetails” has a piano and synth generated shimmer reminiscent of early 90’s David Sylvian while the trippy left-of-field pop groove “Silver Morning” is unlike anything he has released till now. Dan (speaking of his young Dutch backing band Song Crew); “I abandoned control completely and got them to throw as much as they could at this stuff, especially Madelief”.
Tuffy is referring here to his main collaborator of the past 6 years, bassist and multi-instrumentalist Madelief van Vlijmen (aka Madlife) who has co-written two of the album tracks and whose formidable talent has helped forge the album’s sound.
There are still starkly fragile moments reminiscent of earlier work like the solo guitar/falsetto vocal delivery of closing track “Up a Tree” or the deep bass electro-folk groove of love and drink gone wrong in “Home Sweet Sunshine”, but the COUNTRY STAR album is an otherwise unpredictable and swirling affair.
Even the title is deceiving as this is anything but country. At a stretch its modern-day roots music but, true to form, Tuffy’s approach defies straight-jacketing yet again.
Recorded in the airy sounding chambers of Studio 150, Bethlehemkerk in Amsterdam, it is dense with live energy that comes at you from all directions. Keeping it all on track is producer Zlaya’s signature attention to sonic detail and, as each new release demonstrates, Tuffy’s singular approach to drawing you deep into his world by keeping resonance alive from start to finish.