Heidi Newfield’s The Barfly Sessions: Vol 1

By Brian Rock

Heidi Newfield is back! Eight years after her first solo album since leaving Trick Pony, Newfield returns with The Barfly Sessions: Vol 1. Overflowing with a decade’s worth of creative energy, “The Barfly Sessions” pours out 100 proof songs about bad love and good whiskey.

Full of sass and swagger Heidi raises the roof on the “Pour Me” style party anthem, “Won’t Wait Around.” With pounding drums and buzzing Hammond organ, this song opens the album with a bang. With a southern rock pace and intensity, she beckons to her lover, “We gonna do this thing, we better do it now. I won’t wait around.” Both the lyrics and tempo convey a sense of urgency as they celebrate living in the moment.

The celebration continues on the soulful party starter, “Bring This House Down,” and the harmonica infused, “Come Hell or High Water.” The latter of which is a love letter to her fans. Acknowledging her fans who serve in the military, or who work two jobs to make ends meet, or who are just looking for a little hope in their life; she sings, “That’s why I keep on rollin. I keep on ridin. Yeah I pour every bit of my soul on this stage.” That same level of live concert energy radiates in these songs.

The high-octane energy continues to erupt on the honky-tonk barn burners, “Barfly,” “Wrong Side of the Bottle,” and “I Could Fall For You.” These songs are guaranteed to get you off of your barstool and out on the dancefloor.

Heidi branches out a bit into Memphis blues on the scorching, “Whiskeytown,” and the funky, Delbert McClinton duet, “The Blues Is My Business.” On both of these numbers, she shows off her Blues harmonica chops.

But Heidi hasn’t forgotten her tender, “Johnny and June,” side. “Wait For It” is a hope filled song of patience and promise. She then breaks out the heartbreak on the country ballads, “Love Blind,” “Whitley’s Tombstone,” “When Heaven Falls,” and “Temporary Fix.” All four songs show off Heidi’s story telling abilities and emotional range as a vocalist. On “Whitley’s Tombstone,” for instance, she moans, “I’m as worn as the hole in Willie’s guitar from fighting like Wynette and Jones.” But she absolutely knocks it out of the park on “Three Things.” A full-on Soul ballad that would make Etta James proud, she sings, “But of all the loves I’ve stolen, gambled or given, there’s just three things that I know to be true: Hearts break. Whiskey burns. Fools like me never learn.” With gospel tinged organ and backup singers, the song sounds like it could have been recorded at Stax studios at the height of their creativity.

A true musical maverick like Tanya Tucker and Gretchen Wilson, Heidi Newfield does things her own way – and she does them well. Every song on “The Barfly Sessions” is as smooth and satisfying as single barrel bourbon. You won’t need a chaser for this one, because this is the good stuff.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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