Album Review – Tami Neilson’s Dynamite! Will Blow You Away

Tami Neilson Album Cover

The world of country music is huge. I’m not just referring to mainstream country music, the Texas country music scene and the independent world. There is country music being made worldwide. Close-minded people believe it’s just hillbilly and redneck music. Country music though is as universal as rock and pop music. With so much country music being made worldwide, it’s impossible of course to cover it all. As a reviewer you simply keep your eyes and ears open all the time for country music. The best at finding new and great country music is without a doubt Trigger at Saving Country Music. As I’ve said before he was one of the main influences that inspired me to create Country Perspective. And he has once again introduced me to another great country artist: Tami Neilson.

Neilson is from Auckland, New Zealand and is quite popular in that country, winning numerous accolades. She has toured Canada and North America numerous times, even opening up for Johnny Cash. See what I said about country music being worldwide? If you’re a dedicated reader to this site you know I like to venture outside of America and review country music from other countries. And I’m going to tell you before even reviewing Tami Neilson’s album Dynamite! that it’s fantastic. Go listen to it and buy it. I’m going to try to do as much justice as possible to describe how good each song is on this album.

Neilson establishes in the first song, “Walk (Back to Your Arms)”, that this album is a throwback to the 50s and 60s in terms of sound. This song is about a woman in a relationship with a “silver tongued devil.” Not matter what he says or does she goes right back to his arms. The use of the drums and claps in this song really give this song a catchy beat. Neilson’s vocals are great too. This is followed by “Come Over,” a fast paced song with heavy steel guitar and tambourine (I think?). It’s one of the more fun songs on the album, yet Tami’s vocals and the instrumentation are as spot on as the more serious songs on this album. “Texas” is a fun little love song about a woman’s love being as big as Texas. It sounds like something straight from a Patsy Cline album. The Western influences are palpable in this song with the fiddles and acoustics.

Without a doubt the standout song on this album is “Cry Over You.” There are a lot of great songs on this album, but this one is even better than the rest. Everything in this song simple works together in perfect harmony. It’s a heartbreak song and Neilson’s voice conveys the perfect amount of emotion for this type of song. Her vocals are so fantastic in this song it gave me goose bumps. This is without a doubt a strong contender for Country Perspective’s Best Country Song of 2014.

Neilson follows this up with another heartbreak song, “You Lie.” But this one is even more somber and mellow. Neilson’s vocals are once again flawless. This is just another song you need to hear to fully appreciate how great it is. I can’t give it proper justice with words. The album’s title track is about a woman considered “dynamite,” as she will blow up your world and break your heart. The beat and sound of “Dynamite” is infectious and easy to fall in love with. It’s really a mysterious sound and almost something you would hear in one of those old spy movies. It’s impossible to not at least move your head as you hear this song.

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You get to hear Tami’s fun loving side again with “Woo Hoo.” It’s a short little ditty you can get up and dance to. Think of it as a carefree song to listen to at the end of a bad day to bring your spirits up. If you like a song like Shovels & Rope’s “Fish,” you’ll like this song too. “Running to You” is a love ballad duet between Neilson and Delaney Davidson. I wasn’t exactly sure about Davidson being in this song at first, but Davidson and Neilson actually go together well. The contrast between the rawness of Davidson’s voice and Neilson’s polished voice actually makes for a great sound. On most albums this is one of the best songs on it, but it’s one of the more underrated songs on a great album like this one.

“Honey Girl” definitely sounds like something from a bygone era when your grandparents were young. They would turn on the radio and hear a song like this one. It’s not real fancy in terms of instrumentation, with the fiddle being the most present instrument. Neilson’s voice is front and center in this song. The album concludes with another love ballad called “Whiskey and Kisses.” Neilson is joined by Ben Woolley on this duet. I thought it was another good choice for a duet partner for Neilson. What else can I say? It’s simply another great song on a great album.

I’m glad I was able to review Tami Neilson’s Dynamite! before the posting of nominees for year-end awards here at Country Perspective because she will certainly be considered in a number of categories. It would have been criminal not to include her among the best of country music in 2014. This album is simply phenomenal and I will reiterate this again: go buy and listen to this album. I can’t give it a higher recommendation.

Grade: 10/10