Invariable Heartache

Invariable Heartache

by Kort

CD(Jewel Case)

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Invariable Heartache

The aptly named Kort is a collaboration between Kurt Wagner and Cortney Tidwell, two Nashville musicians whose credentials lie well outside the Music City mainstream: Wagner fronts the long-running Lambchop; Tidwell has released a couple of electronic art-pop records. Invariable Heartache is their heartfelt, albeit idiosyncratic, tribute to their hometown's venerable tradition of commercially oriented country music. More specifically, it finds the duo, along with a crack ensemble of local players (most of them members of Lambchop and/or Tidwell's band) laying down a set of obscure cover tunes primarily drawn from the '60s and '70s catalog of Chart records, the label run by Tidwell's grandfather, A&R'd by her dad, and for which her late mother recorded. The material spans slick, tuneful country-pop, plenty of soulful ballads, a bit of '50s-ish R&B ("Yours Forever"), playful semi-novelty songs (the good-naturedly bawdy "Wild Mountain Berries"), and one truly bizarre oddity ("Penetration," which sounds like the group having some sort of post-modern laugh but was apparently the most scrupulously reverent arrangement here; one wonders if that includes Tony Crow's haunted, abstract, minute-long piano intro.) Though there's a definite tendency toward endearingly formulaic schmaltz, many of the selections offer some sort of ear-catching quirk or lyrical distinction, be it hokey wordplay -- as with "I Can't Sleep With You [...On My Mind]" -- or an especially heart-rending sentiment, like the self-explanatory "Incredibly Lonely," which provides the album's more-accurate-than-not title. Crucially, the band brings just the right touch to these performances, their obvious fondness and reverence for the material never getting in the way of a loose, expressive feel, with some very fine bits of soloing and lots of enjoyably breezy ensemble playing. That's doubly true of the vocals, which in some ways could have been this project's most hit-or-miss element. As it turns out, Wagner's characteristically laconic, crotchety-sounding, hyper-articulated delivery pairs beautifully with Tidwell's versatile but generally sweet-as-pie pipes. Certainly, they generate enough of a rapport to make one wish that more than half of the tunes were proper duets; while Tidwell can manage an effortless, spine-tingling Patsy Cline evocation, her five vocal features (Wagner only gets one, sounding pitifully dour on the legitimately poetic "April's Fool") tend to be the record's weaker links. The exception there is the closer, and sole non-chart inclusion (her mother sang it for ABC/Dunhill), "Who's Gonna Love Me Now," which is about as immaculately devastating as you could wish.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/26/2011
Label: City Slang
UPC: 4250506800239
catalogNumber: 680023
Rank: 233895

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kort   Primary Artist
Kurt Wagner   Vocals
Tony Crow   Piano
Adam Bednarik   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
William Tyler   Electric Guitar
Ryan Norris   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar
Cortney Tidwell   Vocals
Scott Martin   Percussion,Drums
Ben Hall   Acoustic Guitar
Billy Conteras   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Robert Stephens   Composer
Bobby Harden   Composer
Roger Moutenot   Engineer
Liz Anderson   Composer
LaWanda Lindsey   Composer
Kenny Vernon   Composer
Kurt Wagner   Producer
Bob Yarbrough   Composer
Cliff Thomas   Composer
Jonathan Marx   Liner Notes
Gene Woods   Composer
Dick Heard   Composer
Todd Tidwell   Engineer
Glenn Martin   Composer
Bob McRee   Composer
Wes Helm   Composer
Bedingfield   Composer
E. Penney   Composer
Alan J. Morton   Composer
Eli McFadden   Cover Photo
Ed Thomas   Composer
David C. Kirby   Composer
Tommy Hedden   Composer
Stevan L. Pippin   Composer
Michael Jay Kosser   Composer

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