My first reaction upon hearing tell my darling is the musical familiarity associated with his other band Sliotar. The folk instruments are there along with the soothing melodies. But this is not Celtic rock. It is more like acoustic indie with touches of other styles. But this is definitely the J.J. Kallio sound which he already perfected since the previous two solo albums.
For years he led the two amazing bands, Sliotar and Boneyard Bastards. Each band has their own style. While Sliotar is Celtic rock while Boneyard Bastards has a more punk rock sound. They’ve been around in the scene and they have polished their sounds after years of playing live and making records. Going solo is an extension of Kallio’s creativity. I think is a good thing because every artist needs to breathe while perfecting his own s
tyle. This way, he has something fresh to contribute to whatever band he is involved with.
This album has a richer sound. The arrangements are more complex and you can hear a great deal of other instruments. He has something interesting to say about the title track Tell My Darling: “Tell My Darling” is once again a story song. I’m sure most of us have done silly things under the influence of love. The character is a hardworking man, but times are tough, wage is just about enough to survive. Still he would like to ask his sweetheart to be his bride. The problem is that he thinks she deserves nothing less than the best, but the best is well out of his reach. So he decides to try to break in to a jewellery store in hopes he can get his love the nicest diamond ring there is. But things get out of hand, and as a result all she get’s is a boyfriend locked up in prison for a murder.
Sounds like a song worthy of a short story or perhaps this could be use as a TV soundtrack or something like that. It also reminds me of those Western movies by John Wayne. If you haven’t seen any John Wayne movies, I encourage you to watch a few while listening to this album!
It is hard to judge which tracks stand out. I am more of an album person and I tend to listen to all the songs as each contribute to the bigger picture. But I think Sunny Summer’s Day is a clever opening as it introduces the whole feel of the album. Daddy’s Girl has that nice flute sound. I also like They Don’t Make Them Anymore because of the beautiful instruments. I am a sucker for clever guitar plucking.
If I compare this to other current folk albums, I think this is a good candidate because it sounds well polished and it has the themes that touches on our present condition especially unemployment and poverty that drives people to commit crimes.
Suggest you listen to this album using headphones inside a coffee shop or maybe somewhere with the quiet ambience so you will really savor the nuance of the instruments.
You can buy the album via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gw/album/tell-my-darling/id907180316