Best of 2012 – #1
Truckstop Darlin’ – Hope and the Heart it Breaks (self-released)
Country tropes? Check. Second album topics? Check.
The aforementioned elements that could be conceived as clichés (dogs, spousal abuse, life on the road) are turned on their head by Truckstop Darlin’ on their sophomore album, Hope and the Heart it Breaks.
Progressing from their country-tinged, self-titled 2010 release, Hope and the Heart it Breaks finds Truckstop Darlin’ settling in as a band with a clear vision. Taking a more straight-ahead rock approach this time out, the band melds deft storytelling (“front porch sagging like a beaten hound”) with inventive musicianship (Michael Winter’s peddle steel playing buoyed by Nick Foltz’s bottom bass).
Hope and the Heart it Breaks contains nods to their forefathers (The Who) and elder peers (Drive-By Truckers), as well as lyrical references to their musical influences (Nirvana, Sun Volt). But as with their first album, Truckstop Darlin’ casts aside traditional song structure for the purpose of telling their stories, their way.
John Phelan, the band’s singer/guitarist, commented: “We are a young band; we are paying our dues.” One listen to Hope and the Heart it Breaks and you’ll be convinced this is a band that’s been there, done that. And if the new songs in their recent live set are any indication, Truckstop Darlin’ knows where they are heading.