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Tabatha & Southern Fry’d - Avoid Heat & Flame
By: Brianna Nightingale, CSO Staff Journalist
7/15/08

One thing I love about the internet is that you can find independent artists from around the world that you would never have a chance of hearing on the radio. Many of them are so good you want to turn the radio off and turn MySpace on.

The name, the sound and the attitude of Tabatha & Southern Fry’d is as southern as biscuits and gravy. There are no pretensions and no trying to be something they’re not. What you see is what you get and what you get is a whole lot of real, a whole lot of honest, and a whole lot of TSF telling it the way they see it.

The album is Avoid Heat & Flame and rightly so. This is highly flammable and combustible material. It’s a touch country, a touch honky-tonk and a touch southern rock with a couple sticks of dynamite thrown in for good measure. It’s about life and what can happen to you in it, the heartbreak, joy, sorrow, challenges, family, loyalty and pride in who you are.

This is music from the backbone and the front porch of America.

In the first song, “Stubborn,” the lyrics get right down to the heart of what a southern woman is, strong, determined and able to handle her man. It’s about not giving up, no matter what happens. Tabatha’s strong, no nonsense voice, is as forceful as the words of this song.

“Next Train” shows the flip side of what can happen if you cheat on your southern woman. Like holding on to the caboose of a train pulling out of the station, you won’t have a chance of stopping it, or her. Be prepared.

“Hank It Up” is about letting out some of what we all bottle up inside. It’s a good time honky tonk romp that will put a smile on your face. It’s as much a statement of personal freedom as it is a party call.

“Give Me Back My Wings” is about how far a girl can be pushed before she’s had enough and the bittersweet taste of leaving.

The lead guitar drives “Turn the Girls Loose” and it’s incredibly infectious.

A southern woman knows what it’s like to be a “Kentucky Daddy’s Girl” and that southern family loyalty and pride shows through in this affirmation of American heartland values.

“Inside Out” is the group’s only nod to a standard song. No copycat version of the original, TSF takes care to put their own stamp on the song.

When making a living takes up a little too much of your time and you need to get away to clear your mind and get some balance, “Back Roads” are what you need. This song pays homage to the exquisite countryside of the group’s home state of Kentucky where people go for Sunday drives even when it’s not Sunday.

"Change" is about the challenges of facing and fighting your own internal demons and is sung with such conviction, you may find yourself holding your breath while listening.

The final song, "Empty," is about knowing when to let go. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to know.

Few albums paint pictures as well as this one. Uncluttered, clear and to the point, this album is solid lyrically, vocally and musically. If you’re an adult and you haven’t had everything handed to you on a platter, this is music you’ll understand.


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