Nick 13 has been asked why, given that he is the principal songwriter in Tiger Army, he has felt the need to launch a concurrent solo career. The answer is found in his self-titled solo debut for the tradition-oriented Sugar Hill label. Here, Nick 13 has penned and updated a clutch of songs that allow him to investigate several fallow styles of country. Often, he harks more to the "western" side of the old "country & western" tag, for instance going to Bakersfield for "101," as if trying to come up with something that Buck Owens could have performed. Hank Williams naturally is evoked on "All Alone," while "In the Orchard " sounds like a classic Roy Orbison ballad. Another reason to go "solo" is to play with musicians other than the same old guys, and Nick 13 takes advantage of that opportunity by bringing in sidemen including Josh Grange, James Intveld, Greg Leisz, and Mike Webb, and turning them loose. Leisz, in particular, provides twangy guitar leads that dominate such tracks as "Carry My Body Down." Nick 13's smooth tenor vocals, singing traditional country sentiments, lead the songs, which transcend their styles to make this a varied, if deliberately retro, country album. It's not the psychobilly of Tiger Army, but it shows the traditional roots from which Nick 13 draws.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann