Justin Tipton & The Troublemakers “Burn These Bridges”

Soundly Music, 2023

A good Southern rock record, but not distinctive enough to push it up above the attention parapet.

Art work for Justin Tipton & The Troublemakers album "Burn These Bridges"Justin Tipton & The Troublemakers are a rock band from Dallas, TX comprising Tipton (vocals, guitar), Josh Vaughn (“slinging guitar”), Sawyer McGee (drums), Jesse Thompson (bass, backing vocals) plus Chris Watson and Chad Stockslager on various keyboards. Tipton was moved to take up music after being taken to see Band of Heathens by his father and cites Tom Petty, Steve Earle and Lynyrd Skynyrd as major influences.  ‘Burn These Bridges’ was supposedly inspired by Tipton’s relationship with his wife.  It’s said they came together despite knowing it would burn a few bridges along the way.

The first song, ‘Gimme Back What’s Mine’, starts with a chuggy Creedence-like guitar riff and some nice organ before Tipton informs an ex that though she’s gone and likely for good he wants his heart back.

“Keep on runnin’ I’ll keep chasing after you
Keep on hidin’ I ain’t looking for you
I know you can hear me callin’ on your telephone line
Come on baby give me back what’s mine”

The title track is the story of the Tiptons’ relationship.  Another straight-ahead rocker where Tipton states his willingness to ditch everything and everyone for his wife.   A full-on guitar solo bookends the repeated chorus through the end. ‘Back To Being Me’ has a distorted intro before knocking into a big Bad Company-ish riff.  The song is about recovery post relationship.  The latter half of the song is pretty much a Skynyrd homage – the ‘Free Bird’ rock out in this case. Tipton tones it down with ‘Don’t Make Me Sleep Alone’, a slower duet with Frankie Leonie.   He’s asking his love to come home while recognising that he’s brought the situation on himself.

‘Some Days’ kicks off with acoustic chords and gradually brings in the rest of the band.  Written during Covid times, it addresses some of the issues associated with getting by in periods of isolation and uncertainty.

“Some days you can shake it off
Some days you can move along
Some days you feel 10 feet tall
Other days you don’t feel that strong”

Listening to this record, you get the impression you could fill a decent-sized club with all those who disapprove of Tipton.  The objectors in ‘Your Momma Don’t Like Me’ are his partner’s parents and family. ‘Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven’ is a little less directly personal and has a very contemporary focus on aspiring to be a winner without being willing to take the consequences.

“Everybody wants to go to heaven
Nobody wants to die”

‘Shake ‘Em On Down’ rocks out from the get-go and would have been at home on a Faces record. The final track, ‘Stay’, sounds like it could be a set closer with a big chorus – “Hey baby, let’s run away” and a nice guitar/organ combination before dropping into a single piano line which repeats to fade.

Overall, ‘Burn These Bridges’ clocks in at a whisker over 30 minutes but doesn’t leave the listener wanting more.  It’s an average to good Southern rock record, but really isn’t distinctive enough to push it up above the attention parapet.

 

6/10
6/10

About Richard Parkinson 117 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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