Album review: Ingrid Mae | Holy Smoke

Ingrid Mae’s new record delivers fourteen emotive alt-country songs all with a degree of difference, somewhat loosening the boundaries of country music.  ‘Choosy’ is the first track that sets the blueprint. Littered with double entendre and cut-to-the-chase lyrics, this and MCA chart topper ‘Magnetic’ trigger a momentum of radio-worthy songs sustained throughout the album. The ballad ‘I Love The Bends’ includes clever word crafting using road riding references “… easy right hard left, easy left hard right, don’t slow me down” while ‘New Squeeze’ hollers with Dolly Parton-style songwriting sass and Ingrid’s vocals channeling Aretha Franklin: “R S V P … if you really want to see my face use your m e m o r y.”  The swinging ‘Saloons n’ Outlaws’ track is styled as a rockabilly Johnny Cash number, referencing film star Mae West and visualising dusty sunsets and old western movies. Two reminiscent songs sparkle: the vinyl yearning harmonic track ’45,’ and acoustic lullaby ‘An Angel Said Hello.’

Employing highly regarded session musicians in Bradley Bergen on guitar and telecaster and producer/drummer Rock Guy, the instrumentalists introduce songs playing rock style riffs as well as beautifully guided country guitarwork, echoing and enhancing Ingrid’s vocal melodies.

The ‘Holy Smoke’ album was recently launched at Sydney’s Annandale Hotel, providing a wealth of tracks to perform at gigs – namely several Country Rocks festivals throughout NSW and the infamous Trundle Abba Festival. Ingrid Mae has the perfect potion of songs to get everyone up dancing.

We have discovered a new country artist who harks way out west of Sydney, has the vocal intensity of Pat Benatar and the modern songwriting smarts of Kasey Musgraves. Listening to ‘Holy Smoke’ is like enjoying an arthouse film; the content is creative and the twists and turns keep on coming.

Visit the Ingrid Mae website for festival and venue dates.

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