From the moment the opening strains of “The Valley” wafted through my speakers, I knew I was going to like Thieves, the latest album from Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife. It’s one of those tracks that is so easy to listen to, an accomplished country-folk song with a poetic turn of phrase and seemingly effortless harmonies. I instantly warmed to Tracy’s rich husky voice and the use of the pedal steel guitar.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but this song was the ideal introduction to what this band does. Because song after song I was willingly taken on a journey, into moments captured so perfectly by the band. We’ve all been to those places before, the first sparks of love, a relationship that’s hard to move on from, loss that hits us hard. So many lyrics and songs struck a chord with me. “Wait On You” felt painfully familiar. I was so touched by “Ashes,” a song Tracy penned in memory of her late father, Wayne “Mac” McNeil. She plays his 1968 Gibson Hummingbird on the track, adding extra poignancy to a song steeped in so much emotion. After so much heartache, the joy of “Finer Side” is a lovely way to close the album. Lead guitarist Dan Parsons duets with Tracy on this bluesy number.
Thieves already seems like a classic album despite being days from its release. It’s an accomplished piece of work full of music that feels like coming home. Just like the very best classics, I’m sure I’ll be playing it for years to come.
Thieves is released on July 1. Tracy McNeil & The GoodLife will support its release with the following shows.
30 June 2016 – Union Hotel, Newtown
1 July 2016 – The Stag and Hunter, Newcastle
2 July 2016 – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland
3 July 2016 – Marrickville Bowling Club, Marrickville
8 July 2016 – Baha Tacos, Rye
10 July 2016 – Westernport Hotel, San Remo
14 July 2016 – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane
15 July 2016 – Night Quarter Markets, Gold Coast
17 July 2016 – The Triffid, Brisbane
22 July 2016 – Tanswell Hotel, Beechworth
23 July 2016 – Major Tom’s, Kyneton
31 July 2016 – Old Hepburn Hotel, Hepburn Springs
12 August 2016 – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton
15 October 2016 – Akoostik Music Festival, Wingham
Image used with permission from Annie Johnsson Publicity