When Jeremy Pinnell released OH/KY in the summer of 2015 to stunned acclaim, it felt like an entire career compressed into one knock-out album. Hailed as a “ming-blowingly good” (Greg Vandy, KEXP) “tutorial on classic country music” (Popmatters), Pinnell’s debut immediately differentiated as authentic and unflinching. Dogged touring through Europe and the states and celebrated radio sessions followed, cementing Pinnell’s position as a no-fuss master of his craft.
His 2017 album Ties of Blood and Affection presents a canny lateral move. Instead of doubling down on the stark themes and values of his debut, this sophomore album finds Pinnell finding comfort in his own skin and achieving the redemption only hinted at in his previous batch of haunted songs. Here Pinnell joyfully embraces the working life, family obligations, and faith. His new stories delve into acceptance and survival, all the while investigating his most challenging chapter yet: adulthood. While “If life don’t get any better / I’m alright with this” isn’t an out-right triumph, it’s an honest revelation.
You can feel the room breathe and get a sense of these musicians eyeballing each other as their performances are committed directly to thick analog tape. Honest and careworn, Jeremy’s voice can touch on wry, jubilant, and debauched - all in a single line. Ties of Blood and Affection offers a fair dose resolution to Jeremy’s story. At his best, Jeremy Pinnell chronicles the joy and sorrow of being human, which is the best that anyone could do.