Petunia and the Vipers (Independent)
Sometime Vancouverite, full-time yodellin’ cowboy Petunia often presents, live and on CD, a stripped-down take on roots music, with his obvious musical antecedents being Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. His new LP—his first full-length to come out on vinyl (with bonus tracks on the CD)—vastly expands his domain, with energetic rockabilly rave-ups (“Maybe Baby Amy”, replete with Jerry Lee Lewis yelps) and lush, complex arrangements (with lap steel guitar, horns, kazoo, piano, and deft drum work by Marc L’Esperance). There are also a couple of absolutely fantastic bits of songwriting in evidence, like “Mercy”, which yokes a swingin’, revival-tent atmosphere to half-growled lyrics about guilt, sin, redemption, and gambling, delivered with a vocal fire and fury unheard on Petunia’s solo CDs. Impressive stuff. This may well be the Vancouver roots-music release of the year.