Once a member of popular Canadian country group The Neilson Family, singer/songwriter Tami Neilson has become a real star in New Zealand after emigrating there. New album Dynamite (her fourth solo record) reintroduces her back to Canada, and it/she deserves a warm welcome (it won a New Zealand Music Award as Country Album of the Year). The album title is appropriate, for Neilson has a powerfully explosive voice that'll drop you in your tracks. She puts it to work on retro-sounding songs that draw upon country, rockabilly and vintage soul. She's equally convincing on speedy rockabilly romps ("Come Over") and cry in your beer ballads, while male duet and harmony vocals on some tracks add further variety. Some of New Zealand's finest country players are featured, and co-producers Delaney Davidson and Ben Edwards do sterling work. It has travelled a long way, but this may just be the best Canadian roots record of the year.
Neilson will soon headline another tour of N.Z.. We sure hope she gets to play gigs here too.