The distance from punk rocker to acoustic folk/alt-country artist appears to get shorter and shorter every year. Everyone from Frank Turner and Tim Barry to Mike Ness and Chuck Ragan have unplugged and perched on the edge of a stool channeling their inner Willie Nelson and Hank Williams.
So, it was not that surprising when Tiger Army singer Nick 13 strapped on an acoustic guitar in 2011 and lent his pipes to 10 Americana/country songs, a departure from his day job leading a psychobilly band. He did, however, manage to cover two Tiger Army songs.
The vinyl pressings of Nick 13’s lone solo effort sold out long ago, so Craft Recordings is reissuing the album on black vinyl and limited editions on clear and walnut vinyl.
The record is not too much of a stretch for Tiger Army fans, for as much as the band was inspired by The Misfits and The Cramps, it’s clear Nick’s writing and singing was just as inspired by Buck Owens and good ol’ Hank.
The only downside to these songs is that quite a few tend to sound a little too similar to each other, bleeding from one to another. But when he does stretch a bit, like on “Restless Moon,” with a strong infusion of classic country swing and the two reworked Tiger Army tracks, “In the Orchard” and “Cupid’s Victim,” the result is impressive.
There’s also no denying that his voice, not having to compete with distorted guitars and loud drums with this outing, is on full display and comes of as remarkably smooth, like an even cooler version of Chris Isaak (though Isaak still boasts the better pompadour).
This much-needed re-release also begs the question of when Nick 13 plans to follow up this solid debut.