Up The Hickory Down The Pine
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Shelly Colvin writes a love letter to L.A. with this collection of California country-rockers and Laurel Canyon folksongs. Filled with ‘70s grooves and swooning harmonies, Up The Hickory Down The Pine roots itself in the influence of Jackson Browne and Chris Hillman, two other artists that made Southern-sounding music without hamming up the twang. These songs move forward at a casual pace, with Colvin dropping references to mountains, rivers, old memories and new loves while organs and acoustic guitars swirl in the background. She’s a captivating singer, with a woozy alto that sounds a bit like Hope Sandoval’s sober alter-ego, and her voice is the most alluring instrument on an album that also includes Wilco’s former drummer and Linda Ronstadt’s old pedal steel guitarist. “Pocket Change” is the album’s loudest tune, a pissed-off kiss-off to a man who doesn’t appreciate his partner. “Where’s my Studebaker?” Colvin demands over a distorted banjo riff, looking for the car that will allow her to leave this bum once and for all. She channels Emmylou Harris on the title track, a vintage-sounding country number evoking the American heartland, but Up The Hickory Down The Pine really hits its stride on mid-tempo tracks like “All Right Now” and “To The Bone,” two tunes that pack a punch without breaking a sweat.