This Wisconsin native is no stranger to creating interesting and introspective music. Tulsa is John Statz’ seventh release and a fine, cohesive piece of work. Masterfully produced by Jeffrey Foucault, the performances by Statz, Morphine’s Billy Conway on drums, Mark Spencer of Sun Volt on guitar and pedal steel and Jeremy Moses Curtis from Booker T.’s band are powerful, tight and filled with atmosphere – add Foucault on guitar, Matt Lorenz on fiddle and the wonderful Caitlin Canty on vocals and harmonies and it’s a perfect balance/mix.
Opening with the title track, your appetite is whetted in the right way. A haunting, “pure American”-sounding number, it sets the table for a classic countrified follow on, “Old Pro”, with its delicious pedal steel runs and violin touches. “Home At Last” has a sweet Rickenbacker 12-string body and reminds me of Mellencamp’s best (think Uh-Oh or Scarecrow-era), easily an early standout; “Amsterdam In Autum” is a powerful, acoustic-washed, piano-driven piece with some wonderfully restrained “heavier” guitar. “Queen Of The Plains” rocks out and “Tennessee” is a quiet, thoughtful song, backed with acoustic picking, muted drums and has both warmth and feel.
If I may be so bold, this is a modern musical travelogue; a diary of different moments and places, captured in words and lyrics with an accuracy and comprehension I haven’t heard from someone that hasn’t been over-hyped as “the next great American writer”. And yet, I’m of the hope that Tulsa and the name of John Statz finds its way to a greater audience to discover a performer who has the skill of putting these visuals – some bold, some stark – to music and bringing it all together.
Tulsa will be released on March 10th, 2015