Trummors “5”

Ernest Jenning Record Co., 2024

Back to the future with this excellent album which features a classic sound and great songs; it’s nostalgic yet modern at the same time.

Artwork for Trummors album "5"David Lerner and Anne Cunningham make up the duo, Trummors. Lerner sings and plays acoustic guitar, Cunningham sings and plays harmonium, while on their records, they are supported by a cast of session musicians, a cast that appears to change from record to record. This LP was produced by Dan Horne, who has played on Trummors records previously and is also a member of supergroup Circles Around The Sun; here he also contributes pedal steel guitar. Other musicians featured include Clay Finch, Colby Buddelmeyer, Tiffanie Lanmon and C.J. Burnett.

Trummors was formed in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 2010, before the duo relocated, first to West Saugerties, New York, a town where, in 1967, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson moved into a house nicknamed “Big Pink”, where the songs which would be subsequently recorded for The Band’s 1968 debut album ‘Music from Big Pink‘ were written and rehearsed. On leaving West Saugerties, Lerner and Cunningham settled in Taos, New Mexico (a town about which Waylon Jennings sang in 1967 on the song ‘Taos, New Mexico‘), which is where they remain today. The duo write songs together; they penned all except one of the songs on ‘5‘; perhaps helpfully, Cunningham has a PhD in Comparative Literature, which may partly explain why the lyrics are so good. The music is described as cosmic American; the overall sound is enchanting, nostalgic, but at the same time modern sounding; lyrics and melodies that sound new, but somehow familiar, solo or at times dual lead vocals with the two voices hanging together so well.

5‘ is Trummors’ fifth long player; it opens with ‘Hey Babe‘, the first of three singles from the album, setting the tone for the record nicely, it features dual lead vocals and pedal steel guitar is the dominant instrument. Lyrically it includes the lines “Hey babe looks fade I’m here for you that’s all, Pray now to St. Cecilia to catch you when you fall“. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. Cunningham says the song was inspired by her thoughts on mortality and marriage and the importance of having a partner in your life; one you trust to walk hand in hand with.

The standout cut on the record is ‘The Jalisco Kid‘ which sounds a little like something The Delines would record. Cunningham handles lead vocals on this song, which features harmonica, piano, and an atmospheric guitar solo. Second single ‘Cosmic Monster‘ sounds very psychedelic, with its electric sitar (played by Finch) prominent, it’s akin to being transported back to the 1960s; this is a more up-tempo number than most of the songs here and fades out with a great electric sitar solo.

Cold Water Blue‘ is again more up tempo; it starts with harmonica which gives way to jangly guitars, with lyrics including “Drive south to Texas on my last dime, Head past the people the buildings and the lights, Stay there for a year or maybe just the night“, there’s more than a little restlessness befalling the character(s) in a number of the songs on this album.

Horse Named Blue‘ proceeds at a pace that brings to mind a cowboy/cowgirl riding a horse at walking pace, the lyrics tell the tale of a relationship which appears to have run its course: “Had a horse named blue, He went running after you” and subsequently “But Blue brought you home, He was never one to roam, Too bad you couldn’t stay“. While the gloriously titled ‘Supermoon Moonshine‘ offers more jangly guitars; like many of the songs here its lyrics take you on a journey through several North American places and it may drive the listener to reach for a map of the USA to discover or confirm the location of these places.

I Can Still Make Cheyenne‘ is a cover of the 1996 George Strait hit, written by Aaron Barker and Erv Woolsey; a sad tale of a rodeo rider and his partner’s strained relationship. The song is covered in a sensitive manner, remaining relatively faithful to the original, while Trummors put their own particular stamp on it, particularly from an overall sound perspective.

This is a really strong release; everything, from the overall soundscape, to the instrumentation, melodies and lyrics, they all combine to expertly paint an image in the listener’s mind. The songs are beautifully crafted and expertly performed, while the production suits the music perfectly. Fire up the DeLorean DMC-12 and take a ride with Trummors, back to the future… you might find you don’t want to come back.


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