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Heartache in 4/4 Time

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iTunes Review

A nervous breakdown, the loss of a close friend, and a near-deadly encounter with Hurricane Katrina are among the experiences that inform the latest tunes by Starlings, TN’s Steven Stubblefield. Here they're rendered with a blend of wry humor and stubborn resolve. Stubblefield’s compelling visions are fleshed out with the aid of old partner Tim Bryan, as well as new collaborator Bryan Robison, who brings a stronger electric-guitar presence to the combo’s acoustic-based approach. Together they take Appalachian-rooted country sounds (defined by Stubblefield’s inventive dulcimer playing) and mutate them with trippy orchestral colors and patches of shoegazer ambiance. Odd touches like massed choir vocals on “Too Little Too Late” and dissonant strings on “A Girl from Tchoupitoulas St.” add further layers of eeriness. Stubblefield’s parched, whispery vocals lend a dark intimacy to tracks like “One More Time,” “Firearms and Seeds," and “Dry County in Hell.” The droll barroom ballad “(Tonight) I’m Just Lookin’ to Get Laid” helps lighten the melancholy, while “You Will Heal” suggests there’s hope beyond the bleak times.

Customer Reviews


Heard the spectacular Starlings at Driskell in Austin, and this sterling recording is indeed a great nod at country-meets-50s, old timey with a collective twist. Buy it, and sway under the stars with your true love.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

With their bowed dulcimer, droning echo, and mysterious psychedelic touches, Starlings, TN combines the otherworldliness of John Cale-era Velvet Underground with the tradition of string and bluegrass bands of the '20s and '30s. The Nashville group released its debut, The Leaper's Fork, on Chicken Ranch Records in 2002. Ex-punk rockers Steve Stubblefield (formerly of the Methadone Actors) and Tim Bryan (formerly of the Habitual Sex Offenders) founded the group in the late '90s. The two eventually...
Full Bio
Heartache in 4/4 Time, Starlings, TN
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