Joe Triplett, |
(Dee Dee Records, 2017)
If you were around the DC area in the late 1970s, you knew the music of the Roslyn Mountain Boys. A legendary country rock band, they were very big regionally, playing the Maryland, Virginia and DC circuit, while getting heavy airplay on WHFS, the most important independent radio station on the East Coast.
They opened for and/or accompanied Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Vassar Clements and Jerry Lee Lewis, among many others. The Roslyn Mountain Boys were the band that everyone knew was going to break big nationally. Despite a successful album on the Adelphi label, for some reason, the national career didn't materialize and the band folded in 1979. Their infrequent one-shot revivals have ensured their legendary status in the mid-Atlantic region.
Joe Triplett was the lead singer and major songwriter for the Roslyn Mountain Boys, and now, after years away from the music business, he has returned, offering up this solo album. The band includes a couple of the guys from the old band and the sound is similar to what they used to play, only a little more country-oriented.
Now, of course, the singer has an older man's voice; if it's not as strong as it was in the Roslyn Mountain Boys' prime, it is more subtle and flexible; his singing is that of a man who has lived what he sings about. His is a voice that conveys lived experience. He has not studied or imagined the loves lost and found, the simple longing for a cold beer or the various battles with responsibility and/or society at large that make up the meat of his songs. Triplett has been there and brings us back this report. The man still puts a song across.
For this solo album, Triplett enlists the aid of a few of the old Roslyn Mountain Boys on the disc -- most notably Rico Petrucelli on bass and Tommy Hannah on pedal steel, both of whom, after the Roslyn Mountain Boys bit the dust, went on to long careers as members of Mary Chapin Carpenter's band. Hannah's pedal steel is all over the album, and if there is a flaw in the playing, it is that sometimes the pedal steel is too prominent in the mix. That however is a small price to pay for the truth.
Joe Triplett has been gone from the music scene for a while. It is good to see him back.
music review by
Michael Scott Cain
1 July 2017
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