Round Rock 2017
Aural aspect of a multidimensional almanac gets a grand opening.
This project’s mastermind Fehmi Nuhoglu, or Franky, may be a bandleader but his creative reach isn’t limited to music. The “Austin, Texas” album is part of a wider concept that also includes a novella and a book, yet its utterly romantic story doesn’t require additional reading – outlining events in the booklet will help, of course, yet songs can speak for themselves.
Like in a soap series, lyricism is there in spades, sweeping strings taking honeyed hopes of “Austin I’m Flying” into the skies where acoustic guitar’s lace stitches piano-sculpted solemnity to cinematic sway, and “Magic In The Air” bringing a tremulous tenderness into the mix. The latter is magnificently voiced by Jennifer Williams who’s just as arresting on “Dance With Me Mom” – lively if delicate – but, given the album’s locale, there’s no escaping country tropes on a few tracks. The banjo licks that drive “Austin Rodeo” evoke quite a humorous scene, though, before the hoedown at the end makes it all wholly hilarious.
The music hall moves behind “Texas Weather Shadow Queen” and the mariachi-tinctured “Amor Amor Amor” render the “rock opera” notion irrelevant, yet the record’s tagline roars as a heavy riff on the refrain of “Live Music Capital” which is well-oiled with the blare of brass. There’s a sneaky caress of pedal steel in several spots, while “Austin Save My Love” has a stinging, metal edge to its desperate delivery – stoked by no less than three electric guitars. The state main city’s name appearing in the title of eight, out of 13, pieces, feels like a deliberate OTT-ing and, to sum it up, the classy romp through “Austin Where I Long To Be” is so full of swagger it might burst.
Entertaining to the hilt, this album may become a calling card to… well, you got the drift.