This Is Slim Forsythe
Get Hip Records
The best country-western songs are all about the lyrics, which tug at the heartstrings or plead for empathy. It might be easy to play songs by Hank Williams, but there’s no guarantee the performer can channel the same passion that made the originals so sincere.
Slim Forsythe understands this. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a voice, he fills half of his album with the songs of his forebears, and the second half with originals. Nine of the 10 tracks have spoken introductions that create anticipation.
For “Mother, The Queen of My Heart,” the introduction offers a history lesson about Pittsburgh guitarist Slim Bryant, who wrote and played on the 1932 Jimmie Rodgers’ song; and “Riders in the Sky,” a chestnut recorded by everyone from Peggy Lee to The Outlaws, gets explained.
Forsythe’s vocal delivery serves the songs well, occasionally adding pathos with a high-note yodel, but largely keeping things straightforward. For “Slim’s Been Everywhere,” he updates the standard “I’ve Been Everywhere,” by adding local neighborhoods and boroughs to the rapid-fire litany of cities originally sung by folks like Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. He puts a new spin on heartbreak with “I’ll Never Tear Your Memory From My Heart.” Forsythe closes on the more dramatic side with “Yesterday’s New Tomorrow,” which “starts out in a barroom and ends up at the apocalypse,” a modern sentiment that still seems fitting with these songs.