Kerri Simpson

"Maybe By Midnight"

(Mescalito); Country

By ​Phil ​Bennett

Kerri Simpson is an artist of many surprises.

After the varied experimentation of Vodou Songs Of The Spirits and the intense blues depths explored on Sun Gonna Shine, she has now put out an album of country torch ballads interspersed with a couple of truck drivin' rhythmic numbers.

Gone is the raspy scratch of earlier recordings and in comes a whiskey-soaked smoothness that lies somewhere between Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. Much of the album is post closing time, boots on the porch, blowing smoke rings as you contemplate your broken heart kind of stuff.

And it's very easy to slide too far into rhinestone territory with this kind of material, but Simpson has such sincerity and sheer quality in her voice that she gives the impression that Victoria and Tennessee are neighbouring states.

It's an intonation here, a slight bend there on tracks such as I Bin Your Fool the magic that sets great singers apart.

And that's exactly what she is. A great singer blessed with an ability to get right under the surface of whatever style she chooses to tackle.

The supporting players are simply spot on too, with some delicious touches of mandolin and haunting pedal steel to colour the musical palette. The solo on Calling From Memphis, for example, is a lesson in simplicity, precision and playing just what's right for the part.

One of Australia's best kept secrets, Kerri Simpson is a talent well worth seeking out.

The cd is available on her website at www.kerrisimpson.com.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.