The songs of Northern Kentucky native Jeremy Pinnell (RIYL Ray Price, Wayne Hancock) have received the kind of glowing acclaim that one might perceive as hyperbole … until one actually hears them.
With bands like The Light Wires, The Great Depression and The Brothers and The Sisters, Pinnell has proven himself an impossible-to-ignore songwriter who pours every ounce of soul into his music. Much of his music’s impact comes down to what those around him call “The Voice,” a magnetic vocal presence that is riveting to its core.
For the past few years, Pinnell has been working his songs out with Honky Tonk band the 55’s backing him (a collection of top-notch pro players from around the OH/KY area). Pinnell has explored various areas of Americana music in his past work, but with the 55’s he goes full-on old-school Country. As he shows on his new album, OH/KY (credited just to Pinnell, but featuring backing from the 55’s), the genre is a perfect fit for his aching, longing songs. OH/KY is the kind of album that purists will appreciate, but you don’t need to be a Country music aficionado to enjoy it — the songwriting really transcends genres. Hell, OH/KY could even turn a dedicated Country music hater.
The music on OH/KY never strays from the trad Country roadmap, in both song structure and sound, with note-perfect electric guitar twang and sublime pedal-steel sunset licks streaking across the tracks. With 10 mostly mid-tempo ballads that would make George Jones proud, Pinnell bares his soul and then some. According to the press materials, the album tells the story of Pinnell’s life over the past two decades. That story is one of heartbreak and pain, but there is also more of a sense of hopefulness on OH/KY than on releases from Pinnell’s previous bands.