I can, with utmost confidence, state that The Tip is quite possibly the best-kept rock n’ roll secret to come out of Nashville. If the band’s 2015 self-titled debut album wasn’t enough to garner your attention, their sophomore album, Sailor’s Grave will. From the opening chords of the first track to the final reverb of the ending track, the album is strong with mature vocals and guitar riffs that cut through a backdrop of salty chord progressions. Benny Carl, whose voice is a collision of Bon Scott and Steven Tyler, sings his heart out, makes his guitar scream and drains every last ounce of pain into his harmonica. The album’s first single, “Rock N Roll Heaven,” is only a sampling of what you can expect to hear on Sailor’s Grave. The track’s clash of 1980s hard rock, superb vocal experimentation, and chromaticism sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Ain’t Fakin’ It” delivers an infectious guitar melody that, once established, is handed over to Robby Bote on bass.
At the risk of giving away too many secrets, a “Black Betty”-like vibe opens the track “Whiskey and Coke”. It teeters on the edge of pentatonic with its guitar harmonies. As expected, Dixie Carl delivers big crashes, tight rolls and clean bass drum. “Corner Bag Blues” is a solid, classic blues track with clever lyricism and a piano twang that captures the sound of an upright that hasn’t been tuned in a few years. The album holds many other surprises and boasts Ricky Dover Jr.’s guitar finesse on every track. The album ends with its namesake, “Sailor’s Grave”, a sullen sea lullaby set in minor mode that features an aching violin and the kind of momentum that mimics the rocking of a distant boat on the loneliest of ocean waves.
Sailor’s Grave is among one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. One can barely get a well-mixed cocktail for ten dollars. For even less than that, you can get your own copy of this incredible album and in the meantime, mix your own drink.
Sailor’s Grave Track Listing
2. Rock N Roll Heaven
3. Ain’t Fakin’ It
4. Can You Smell the Money
5. Corner Bag Blues
6. Bad Karma
7. Get the F*ck Out
8. Whiskey and Coke
9. Sailor’s Grave
Writer and Photo Credit: Amanda Knight
Album Cover Art Credit: Dean Tomasek
Production/Mixing Credit: Chris Lohr