LP - Black Vinyl with printed inner sleeve.
With an arm’s length list of credits stretching from the likes of Kesha, Dolly Parton and Deer Tick, to Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town, pedal steel savant Spencer Cullum is one of Nashville’s most in-demand session cats. That’s in addition to making up half of acclaimed, primarily instrumental space-country duo “Steelism.” Clearly he’s had little trouble fitting in since moving from his native London to Music City by way of Detroit eight years ago, even if it’s mostly meant blending into the background. “I guess I’ve always hidden behind [the instrument],” he deadpans. “I’m always the guy who looks like he’s studying for a test in the background.”
Now, with a debut solo album, Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection, paying homage to the ’60s and ‘70s psych-pop, folk and proto prog heroes of his homeland, this Nashville sideman’s stepping out from the shadows into the spotlight. Along with a supporting cast of fellow Music City stage and studio aces like guitarist Sean Thompson and multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds, as well as singing and writing partners like Caitlin Rose, Andrew Combs, Erin Rae, Annie Williams and James “Skyway Man” Wallace — he’s bringing a bit of Britain to Tennessee.
“I wanted to write a very quintessential English folk record, but with really good Nashville players.” Cullum says of Canterbury Scene conjuring Coin Collection. Cuts like glass-lake-placid album opener “Jack of Fools”, “Seaside” and the dreamlike “The Dusty Floor,” recall the prime work of the influences he name-checks: Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Fairport Convention and Sandy Denny. Beyond that, the album manifests his love for psych-prog ground-breakers the Soft Machine (“Tombre En Morceaux”), digs deep into cerebral ambient inspirations like Robert Fripp and Brian Eno (“My Protector”) and krautrock icons NEU! (“Dietrich Buxtehude”) – references he’d previously explored with Steelism. “I’ve always wanted to mix krautrock music into folk and psychedelic,” he explains.
1. Jack Of Fools
2. To Be Blinkered
3. Tombre En Morceaux
4. Imminent Shadow
6. Dieterich Buxtehude
7. The Dusty Floor
8. My Protector
9. The Tree