When I first found out that Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner was releasing a new solo album, I hit "play" on the first single with some idea as to what to expect.
Most of all, I assumed that "Sometimes" would either forgo vocals, like Turner's primary outfit, or feature the timeworn voice of a middle-aged Australian musician (his previous full-lengths, Tren Phantasma, Marlan Rosa, and MOTH, were instrumental affairs).
That's not what the song delivers. Instead, the lovely, deceptively youthful voice of a woman rises above the accordion-saturated, jazz-tinged melody. Though Turner has also worked with Bonny Prince Billy and Cat Power, Melbourne vocalist and visual artist Caroline Kennedy-McCracken (the Plums, Deadstar, the Tulips) brings her own understated style to the mix (she's seven years White's junior, but registers as even younger). In theory, the combination evokes You Follow Me, the 2007 record Nina Nastasia made with Turner's band mate, drummer Jim White, except Kennedy-McCracken doesn't sound like Nastasia either (instead, she brings Lisa Germano to my mind). A really pleasant surprise.
Drag City releases Don't Tell the Driver on Nov 19. On Nov 20, Turner opens for Bill Callahan at Neumos.