I like Marty Robbins's Elvis-styled, NASCAR-racing persona of the 1970s. But it's his glam-less self from the late 1950s, belting out an innocent version of "Singin' the Blues," that gets me. That's the sort of heartfelt purity that local singer-songwriter Richie Reinholdt sticks to in Night and Day, an album whose title first appears cliché until you hear the songs' dark and light elements.
In "Home Now" Reinholdt sings about sheepskin by the fireplace, sweet pancakes, and coffee. The chorus "and down the road we go" denotes a story about everyday life and the common person—something that pop country artists try so hard to embody but fail at in all their hubris. Reinholdt knows how to talk about real life without trying too hard to appear real. The blander "Make Her Mine" and "Dream Noir" still make you feel like you're beneath the Southwest desert stars, so that's nice. Still, it's "Opium" with its smoky strut and, especially, the new wave "Going Van Gogh" with its mischievous lines about ears and scissors that rise above all else.
I doubt Reinholdt will be racing cars or donning rhinestone jackets anytime soon, but like Robbins he's got the chops to be classic and bold.
Richie Reinholdt plays a CD release party at the Ten Spoon Winery Saturday, June 11, at 6 PM with Britt Arnesen. Free.