Thursday, October 27, 2011

Troy Suggs' 'Don't' Review

They say that people are in your life for a reason and after repeated listens to Troy Suggs’ excellent debut, Don’t, I am certain that Troy is glad that he took a chance on playing some of his original music for local Knoxville musician, Erick Baker.  Erick encouraged Troy to pursue his dreams and the end result is a collection of seven wonderfully crafted songs that make up the album Don’t.

It is very rare these days that I have the opportunity to listen to an album in its entirety.  There are those rare occasions when the phone isn’t ringing off of the hook at work, or I’m not travelling with a car load of kids and I miss the days when I could just put a disc or record on and immerse myself in the music.  I was honored to be given an advanced copy of Don’t and it’s such a delight to hear that I found myself listening to it quite frequently over the past few weeks.  Troy has certainly been blessed with the ability to craft a catchy song with intelligent lyrics, that invoke a range of different emotions and by the last chords of ‘Don’t You Know (Superstar) you will also find yourself longing to hear more. 

If asked to label what type of music Troy Suggs creates, it would be extremely difficult to name only one genre.  For starters, his music is easily accessible and will appeal to people from all walks of life.  There are many diverse styles that are blended together well throughout the record.  You can certainly hear Troy’s country roots take center stage on a few tracks, but the closest analogy I can offer would be to imagine if The Eagles, Big Head Todd & The Monsters,  Todd Nance from Widespread Panic, and the late/great Clarence Clemons got together to record an album and you would have a good idea of what Don’t is all about. 

The album opener, ‘Another Sad Song,’ could easily find its home in Nashville with the lyrics “how the blues took a hike and they’re gone to stay, now there won’t be any more pure heartache” sung with a familiar Southern twang and complete with some wonderful fiddle playing courtesy of Bethany Hankins.  Troy sings with conviction on ‘Don’t Tell Me’ and ‘Don’t Expect Me To Be Grateful’ displays the vulnerability of a broken heart that is absent in most of today’s music. 

Without a doubt, my favorite track on the disc is the driving ‘Jealous Eyes’ with stellar interplay between Suggs, sax player, Jason ‘JT’ Thompson, and lead guitarist, Wes Lunsford, which sounds quite remarkable.  There are some beautiful melodies and harmonizing on the breezy ‘I Don’t Wanna Hear It’ and the subtle and encouraging ‘Don’t You Know (Superstar)’ which closes the album.

I am certainly eager to hear these songs performed live and the CD Release show tomorrow night promises to be a success.  It’s been stated before, but it’s hard to believe that Troy Suggs is a working man who has written and recorded such excellent music on the side and is not a professional recording artist.   He has surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians in Knoxville on Don’t, which certainly elevates his original compositions to new heights. 

Overall, this is a fantastic collection of songs and a solid body of work that surpasses any expectation that Troy Suggs could have possibly had about his debut release.  I am privileged to consider Troy my friend and am proud of the music he has created.  Pick up a copy of Don’t-you will not be disappointed!

-Will Fisher, The Showbiz Kids

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