New Music: Al Tuck’s ‘Fair Country’

Consisting of a charming mix of originals, co-writes and covers, Al Tuck’s newest album, Fair Country showcases his considerable songwriting ability and unique musical style.

Often thought of as an under-rated artist, the Prince Edward Island native is well respected among his peers and widely considered one of the most talented Canadian songwriters working today.  His songs have been covered by the likes of Joel Plaskett, Big Sugar and Erin Costelo.

‘Fair Country’ opens with Tuck’s version of Stompin’ Tom Connors’ quintessential East Coast tune ‘To It And At It’, quickly followed by his original tribute to the legend, ‘StompinTomConnors.com’.  The tribute song is a sure-fire new Canadian classic, but don’t think you’ll find ‘ole Stompin’ Tom online at that URL.  The official website for Tom Connors is www.stompintom.com.  The song is so good though, we wouldn’t dream of holding that against him.

‘Fair Country’ also includes a stunning rendition of ‘Always on My Mind’, a song made famous by Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, and Pet Shop Boys. Tuck’s version entrances with its sweet, slow incantation and uses his deep and gravely, Tom Waits-style vocals to full effect.  Other covers include the Emmylou Harris number ‘Feelin’ Single, Seein’ Double’ and a cover of Rita MacNeil’s ‘Fly Right On By’.

Says Tuck of the album, “I am discussed most as a songwriter, but I wished to spotlight the interpreter side with this album.  Another lyricist, Alex Rettie, contributed hugely.  The players and the engineer were so good, and dedicated, I felt near anything was achievable live off the floor.”

In fact, Tuck tells us that in large part, the inspiration for the album came from the very musical legends that he’s covered.  “Musical artists who worked hard till the end to please and inspire their people.  Tom, Rita”, he says.

There are several notable co-writes on the album by Tuck and Rettie, including their bar-room ballad, ‘Stop Hittin’ on Louise’, which includes such lyrical gems as, “Well, Louise is only sixteen/Her life has been real hard/She’s been passed from hand-to-hand like some cheap, casino card” and the up-beat, toe-tapper, ‘Dolled Up’.  When asked what he likes about Rettie’s writing style, Tuck says, “He sent finished lyrics that didn’t need improvement.  I’m not short on words, but thought that his demanded musical treatment.  He has that funny/sad thing I seem to like to do myself, so they fit right in.”

The album had a bit of label trouble but was eventually released independently, in the cleverly marketed form of a red wooden match box, which includes a download code for the music.

‘Fair Country’ is an album that any true East Coast country music fan should include in their musical collection.  In fact, we think Tuck’s potent mix of unconventional vocals and songwriting prowess could probably make a country music fan out of just about anyone.  Everyone loves a good story, and Al Tuck can weave a tale with the best of ‘em.

If you would like more information about Al Tuck and his touring schedule visit www.AlTuck.ca

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