The release schedule of albums by the Tractors seems to be measured in glacial terms, but the results are rarely disappointing.
The release schedule of albums by the Tractors seems to be measured in glacial terms, but the results are rarely disappointing. Fast Girl finds the Tulsa-based country boogiemeisters bouncing to their own metronome, led by head Tractor and chief songwriter Steve Ripley. The act's debut on Nashville indie Audium is a sonic delight, with expert musicianship from top to bottom (including an "honorary Tractor" stint by Leon Russell). "Babalou" thumps with an Okie heartbeat, "Can't Get Nowhere" swings mightily, and "Ready to Cry" sways with dusty soul. Ripley pays homage to his roots with the back-porch anthem "Higher Ground" and a medley of "A Little Place of Our Own" and Dylan's "On the Road Again" that closes the set. Ripley remains an adventurous, risk-taking knob-twister in his own Church Studio, deftly deploying horns, piano, guitars, and backup vocals. Somehow, the Tractors manage to be loose and tight at the same time, plowing along like an old John Deere held together with spit and bailing wire. Distributed by Koch.—RW