Tips in a Jar, the debut EP from Tennessee Twin, is one of my surprise finds of 2019. This acoustic duo from Cambridge have released a set of delicate tracks that rest gently on the listening ear. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with Alison Krauss & Union Station such is the tender charm of Victoria’s vocal. Combined with the deep and mellow tones of partner Geoff, the two create a whimsical sound that makes you lose yourself in their music. Most of the songs may steer close to the four minute mark, but they fly by such is the captivating quality of their sound.
Opening track ‘Born of the Road’ is performed in an acoustic, stripped back style, allowing the listener an early chance to fall under the spell of their vocal harmonies. It is simple but highly effective. ‘Move On’, on the other hand, lays on the instrumentation much more thickly. The hard playing of the electric guitar in the intro announces the arrival of this song immediately. It settles quickly into a much more easy listening rhythm though, before the electric guitar is reintroduced in the chorus to create a real modern country rock sound.
‘Hold My Hand’ could easily be a ballad written for The Shires. Tennessee Twin, however, produce a track that holds a much greater poignancy and understated charm than perhaps the pop sensibilities of Ben & Crissie would allow. The addition of the violin also brings with it a reminiscent quality that elevates this song to a position of elegance. Fourth track ‘Alice’ straddles the two genres of folk and country perfectly. A folk ballad in essence, the addition of a Country & Western style sound makes this a really enjoyable narrative to listen to. It showcases the kind of storytelling prowess that has already earned Tennessee Twin international acclaim. ‘Without You’ then caps off a fine end to this glorious EP, a song surely worthy of national airplay.
At the very least, Tips in a Jar should be on most country-loving people’s playlist of 2019. It feels like a real privilege to have found them simply whilst scrolling through my Twitter feed. Now, I am a fan. I don’t reckon it will be long before those tips turn into serious cash.
Review by Gaz Williams