Review – Tristan Horncastle

By: Dutch Bickell

Album: Turnin’ Up a Sundown
Release Date: 5 February 2016
Genre: Country

Every single time new music comes across my desk from an emerging artist, it always says “The next big thing to hit country music” somewhere in the EPK (Electronic Press Kit). Not that I am ignorant or skeptical, but somehow that line has lost its glitter with me. Country music is full of talented artists. Country music is so hot these days mega rock/pop artists like Cyndi Lauper and Steven Tyler have been working on country albums.

When Turnin’ Up a Sundown came across my desk I was unprepared for how much I would actually be hooked into the musical styling’s of Tristan Horncastle. With a smooth production value and country sound that could rival anything coming out of the city limits of Nashville right now, I knew I was listening to some hard work and creative musical talents. Released on 5 February 2016, Turnin’ Up a Sundown is the second release from Horncastle and with only 8 short tracks, this album leaves you wanting more, and more.

The album opens with “Long As I’m Alive.” With some Jason Aldean style/swagger, the song starts slow, picks itself up, and turns into a windows down, tunes cranked style jam. The song is a “hats off”  to some great country music. “It was ‘Walk The Line,’ ‘The Race is On,’ ‘Rainy Day Woman,’ ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’.” Definitely a groove you can get into and lyrics you want to belt along to.

“On My Way Girl” picks up the pace. The tempo is faster, but still showcases Horncastle’s rich country style vocals. Lyrically the title gives the song away. The usual story of picking up a girl in a pick up truck. True to a bro-country format, it doesn’t make the song any less enjoyable.

Enter the love song, country ballad. “Runnin’ Out Of Backroads” slows it right down. It’s mellow, catchy, and is something you want to crank up when driving around with that someone special. Keeping up with the truck’s and girl’s, it leads well into the next track, “Gone About Midnight.”

“Drinkin’ Girl” is Horncastle’s current single out to radio. With a tight sound that could knock out a Luke Bryan or Tim McGraw tune, I see no reason why this shouldn’t climb the charts. Sometimes when you got someone on your mind, you got nothing but a flood of emotions that you want to indulge yourself in. “Drinkin’ Girl” covers them all.

I really dug “Small Town Bar.” It’s another nod towards to the classics. Throwing mentions of Merle Haggard and that classic country bar that you knew growing up. Not every one of us grew up on “Small Town Bars,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the story telling style of this tune. It has a “Friends in Low Places” style that has you singing along by your first listen.

Featuring some great Canadian country talent, the title track “Turnin’ Up a Sundown” was penned by Jason Blaine. It is a great mid-tempo cut that you can hear the influences of Blaine. Horncastle makes it his own vocally, but with subtle tons of Blaine’s style.

The often save the best for last. “Forever From Here” was one of my favorites. A great tempo, great country love song lyrics. Vocally Horncastle reminds me of some classic 90’s country artists. A little bit of Tracy Lawrence, wrapped up with some Brooks & Dunn, and topped off with some Kenny Chesney.

Turnin’ Up a Sundown is catchy, fun, and great to sing-a-long to. While it still maybe February, you will want this album around all summer long. Late summer nights, truck windows down, and tunes cranked. Turnin’ Up a Sundown is going to make a big splash. Though the lyrics don’t stretch very far passed the pick up trucks and late nights with a country girl, Horncastle makes up for that with vocal performance, and arrangements. Each song is well put together. Smooth, tight, and ready for cranking the volume.

Canadian country music artist, Gord Bamford knows a thing or two about country music too. Having won 22 Canadian Country Music Awards alone, he will be headlining across Canada this year with Joe Nichols from coast to coast. Horncastle will join forces with Bamford and Nichols on the road. Opening up for their tour dates all across Canada. Turnin’ Up A Sundown is a great addition to a country collection. I look forward to catching Horncastle on the road this summer!

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