“I’m a fan of country music,” declared Mary Gauthier at a gig in Melbourne some years ago, “before they fucked it all up.” Gauthier’s assessment of the quality of country music genre was as astute as it was profane: there’s good country, and shit country, and sometimes the turgid dross obscures the brilliant material that led country out of the backblocks of the US and into mainstream consciousness.

Tracy McNeil has one foot safely planted in good country music; her new record, Nobody Ever Leaves, has the other foot swirling around in southern rock territory and a firm grip on a denim-clad pop sensibility. You can hear it all in the opening track, ‘Wildcats’, while the subtle elegance of ‘City Lights’is Fleetwood Mac without the coked-out self-indulgence. ‘Swinging’is the honest singer-songwriter country track for anyone who’s ever pondered the excellence of Lucinda Williams; ‘Sleep In Your Eye’slugs back a few glasses of bourbon and rides the resulting wave of Dutch courage with Californian rock abandon. And finally there’s ‘A Little More Like Love’, a touching love song for this and probably any age.

If you’re a fan of good music, Nobody Ever Leaves is for you. If you’re not, then you’re on your own.


Nobody Ever Leaves is out now independently.

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