The debut LP from American trio Tumbling Bones, Loving A Fool is a wonderfully authentic infusion of traditional Appalachian folk and rockabilly, aptly recorded in the confines of an 18th Century farmhouse in Maine. Flitting between sanguine hillbilly jangles, beguiling folk songs and low-key, lighthearted ballads, the band utilise all the conventions of American country music, ie. fiddles, banjos, harmonica, tambourine and the felicitous use of vocal harmonies, to produce a delightfully fleshy album that stays true to its roots.
Typically amiable country tunes like ‘Broken Things’ and ‘I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby’ get the record off to a cheery start prior to the ascent into more meaningful folk parables like ‘How They’re Rolling” and ‘Bright Morning Stars’. Delicate, almost melancholy, ballads like ‘This Time Last Year’ and the album’s title track add further substance, while gospel-inspired songs ‘Shady Green Pastures’ and ‘Voice Heard From on High’ emphasise the record’s spiritual undertones.
Remaining dignified and authentic throughout, whilst largely avoiding the pitfalls of enforcing stereotypes, or taking itself too seriously in the process, ‘Loving a Fool’ is an album that surprises and delights on many levels. While the ‘Dukes of Hazard’ connotations often associated with this genre may be too much for some, Tumbling Bones may well turn out to be one of the year’s surprise packages.