sat 18/09/2021

Album: Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection

Album: Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection

Nashville-based British pedal steel player favours his own roots over Americana

‘Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection’: drawing from flavours of post-psychedelic contemplation

The presence of Nashville’s Erin Rae and Caitlin Rose on guest vocals suggests Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection could be a take on country music. Indeed, the album was recorded in Nashville and Cullum has contributed pedal steel to live shows and records by A-grade Music City star Miranda Lambert. However, Cullum has also played on records by Herman Dune and Kesha.

His first solo album sounds nothing like a product of Nashville.

Cullum is British and has been based in Nashville for close to a decade. His work as a session player has been stellar; he’s been on stage with Dolly Parton. Coin Collection is his first solo album.

Its nine tracks suggest Cullum is immersed in – mostly British – flavours of post-psychedelic contemplation: second and third album Fairport Convention, Kevin Ayers, Soft Machine when they were still about songs, early Caravan. This is offset against the motorik drive of “Dieterich Buxtehude” (reminiscent of the pastoralism of Michael Rother’s first couple of albums) and “My Protector”, where some Robert Fripp treatments creep in. His voice even sounds like Robert Wyatt on “My Protector”. The final track is a sensitive version of “The Tree”, a Mike Heron song originally heard on the Incredible String Band's 1966 debut album. Fourth track “Imminent Shadow” is a dreamy, aural swoon evoking cottony clouds in a shimmering sky.

On this evidence and although their music is different, Cullum is kindred spirit to Ryley Walker. Each draws from late Sixties/early Seventies European art rock to meld it with their vision of where it may have been taken. The burning question is whether any of Cullum's storied contacts will invite him out on the road as their support to expose this assured showcase to a wide audience?

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