“Living a Nightmare” – Tanner Sparks (2020) [english]

It’s true that Texas is immense, a state in which deserts, forests, lakes, the sea, cowboys and oil tankers coexist, but above all where music is part of everyone’s life. A state in which you can find road signs at the entrance of the territory statele that warn you that the first city is 40 km and the one after to 1350km, unthinkable for us Europeans, but just this enormity well explains how many possibilities there are to find always new musicians, especially considering the fact that even very small towns have places to play live music, where to make a name for themselves, to generate interest only with word of mouth. Every day I could tell you about a new Texas artist and 365 days would not be enough and I don’t talk about everyone but only those who strike for talent, voice and original lyrical skills. Here you can find the classic country, the country outlaw, the blues but also the rock and if you know where to look also the heavy metal or jazz. There are artists who have literally grown up listening to music since they are children, in hard, difficult lands that give few dreams but those that are wonderful. Lands where hard work, love of country, family and god are the constants, where the stories of life become the protagonists of beautiful songs, the songs of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson accompanied the childhood of Tanner Sparks, young boy grew up in the eastern part of Texas that since he was a boy has cultivated the dream of becoming a songwriter and performing for a living. Together with his older brother at 16 he founded a band and from there he never stopped, many concerts so much passion and the first single recorded at 19 years (How Sorry I Am, 2017). At 20 years of age in 2018 comes the first EP consisting of 5 pieces (Music for the Soul Vol.1) and now finally in 2021 just started we are to talk about the real debut record. Living a Nightmare is composed of 7 pieces and the subtitle of the work could be what he uses to describe his music : old-fashioned country music. It is so from the first piece and title-track you understand the direction of the work, country inspired by the great but with a sound already mature and a voice that leaves its mark. Intense and never banal as well as the perfect Texas sound coming out of the speakers, the lesson of Waylon was learned and declined great. The acoustic guitar introduces the second piece which is a beautiful western ballad, where pedal-steel is the master along with the violin, another splendid dedication to the sound with which Tanner grew up, very outlaw, luckily that even in the new generations that ancient feeling took root and the legacy of the golden years was not lost. Consider Me Dead starts as a melancholy piece supported by the beautiful voice of Sparks, but slowly the piece takes an almost sunny turn and the guitar almost wipes out the pedal-steel and gives a wonderful riff that flows into a solo that fits very well. Interesting piece and really nice. As from manual of the country (but also of the blues) the protagonist is always the lost love, the love that makes suffer and in Replaceable the words tell us this, the violin does nothing but sharpen this sense of melancholy that grips the soul, but it is the voice that still strikes : intense, powerful and mature, for such a young boy mastery is not so obvious. The following Playing The Role breaks this tension a bit and gives us a nice piece that borders on rock but always with a western flavor, a successful melody and an outlaw feeling that peeps out. Maybe one of my favorite pieces of this beautiful record and the final solo is really nice. Leaving the country rock shores, Sparks returns, as if starting the reverse gear of the time, with a piece with an ultra-classic flavor, Last Time My Heart Broke is a country ballad as it used to be, where the voice is still the pleasant protagonist along with the violin and a well-set solo. The work closes with Save Me, a beautiful dusty ballad that tells us about answers sought in alcohol and cigarettes in a lonely night, also here supported by a wonderful work of voice, violin and pedal-steel, in short, the 3 hinges for a beautiful song of old fashioned country. A nice album, mature and convincing, if you love the real country but with an ancient soul, a vintage flavor you have found a new author to put in your playlist, We look forward to the next steps of what promises to be an interesting journey on the part of this young Texan.

Good listening,

Trex Willer

(you can find original italian article at this link on the blog : https://trexroads.altervista.org/living-a-nightmare-tanner-sparks-2020/ )