Now Playing: The Truehearts’ ‘Songs For Spike’

Image: The Truehearts

The Truehearts are gearing up to drop their new album on June 21.  It’s titled Songs For Spike.  But first, for those not yet familiar with The Truehearts, a bit of background on the act in question.

The Truehearts

Image: Stacie Huckeba

Once known as The Hummingbyrds, The Truehearts are a Nashville-based pair of performers, Debra Buonaccorsi (vocals, keyboards, and acoustic guitar) and Steve McWilliams (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar).  The dueting duo started working together in 2008.

Their rockin’ resume includes performances at  The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, The Barns of Wolf Trap, The Family Wash, Gypsy Sally’s, The Hamilton in DC, The Iota, Jammin’ Java, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and others.  Their signature sound is an eclectic assimilation of multiple music genres including (but not necessarily limited to) Americana, country, modern and traditional folk, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Songs For Spike

This album explores such subjects as love, life, death, and even alienation.  The tuneful twosome is backed by co-producer Dave Coleman (baritone guitar and percussion), Brian Hinchliffe (bass), and Pete Pulkrabek (drums).

Track by track

This ten-track album of all original material is off to a good start with the album opener “Won’t it be Something.”  It’s got a slight retro feel which could be explained by a familiar descending chord progression that some critics compare to something by Merle Travis or the Kinks.  It features Robert Gay (trumpet) and Diego Vasquez (trombone).

“Sunshine and Violets”  is a fun song that also includes familiar elements.  Some say it is reminiscent to something by Aimee Mann and praise the vocal work.  Whatever it is, it works.

The more countrified cut “PFC Frankie Walker” is the song from which the album title was culled.  It’s an upbeat banjo-based song-story about young PFC Frankie “Spike” Walker.  According to the press release, during the Second World War, McWilliams’ mom dated Walker.

Walker “shipped out, went ashore D-Day . . . and was killed 2 months later.”  The track is meant to focus on “the struggle with the cards you’re dealt.”  This is actually a recurring theme here which thus makes the entire CD “songs for Spike.”  The Steeldrivers’ Richard Bailey appears on banjo.

They change direction with “Mamzelle Marie” which is reminiscent of something by Bo Diddley.  It moves and takes you along for the ride.

By now their signature sound is solid and yet obviously flexible.  Notice the reggae vibe in “Hey Hey” as well as the effective chorus.

“Let it Sing” is perfect for slow dancing.  It is somehow sweet, sad, and sexy all at the same time.  It features Calexico’s Paul Niehaus on steel guitar.

“32nd Street” picks up the pace again.  It’s got a tinge of Texas rock to it which makes it stand alone.  Also included is “Late July.”  It’s an early fave of the critics perhaps due in part to the guitar work.

“Milky Way” is another fun, light number that works with the rest of the material and yet has its own identity.  Niehaus encores on steel guitar.

For reasons both obvious and not, “Goodbye” is the perfect choice for the closing cut.  It’s slightly sad and yet has a beauty of its own.

Overall, the album contains cuts that are melodic, expressive, and reminiscent of material by Tom Petty, an Americanized XTC or even early Elvis Costello.  The tracks are personalized presentations of universal subjects.  So pick up The TrueheartsSongs For Spike; put it on your CD player and just “Let it Sing.”