Album Review: Henry Wagons - After What I Did Last Night...

5 February 2016 | 2:51 pm | Ross Clelland

"Even as sincerity plays off against rhinestone cowboy melodrama, it just about all works."

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Surprisingly the redoubtable Henry Wagons' first full album under just his own name, and maybe even more so, the first recorded in his obvious spiritual home.

See, Nashville is an idea as much as an actual location. And sometimes it's been hard to work out just where Mr Wagons puts himself in its various philosophies. When his basso profundo tones boom out, it can touch you. Go to Only Child here, as Henry ponders his solitude. There is sincerity in this first example of 'alt country emo', but is that a bit of a wink suggesting the sensitivity is also working as a good pick-up line?

Head Or Heart's "I could have any girl in the room...but the only girl I wanted was you", is right along the Gram Parsons style of recasting country traditions. Conversely, the hangover regret of Cold Burger, Cold Fries almost chuckles — knowing this scenario is likely to play out again. Then balance that with the truly tender As Long As I Breathe's fatherhood hopes.

With local producer Skylar Wilson directing gun players, the results tend to sit right, whatever the mood. Even with something as off-centre as Santa Fe's atmospheres — which might hark back to Henry's early Krautrock-ian influences — or as the honky-tonk piano ripples through his return to his 'other' hometown of Melbourne. Even as sincerity plays off against rhinestone cowboy melodrama, it just about all works — he may well be the Only Sane Motherfucker, just like he says.

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