The Rinaldi Flying Circus’s album Old Hat is a rockabilly anthem lead by a female vocalist. The lead singer’s voice is warm and burlesque like, occasionally accompanied by her brothers’ alto and baritone voices on backup. The album commences with the song“ The Story to Tell,” which sounds like a game of poker gone bad. The song stages the listener in the saloon-glasses clinking, whiskey flying, guns loaded and in holster.
The fact that they are family and are a” flying circus,” I get the sense that they are all on the road, coming in unknown from town to town, stirring the pot then leaving. “Story to Tell “ has yearning guitar solos and a slow marching drum rhythm. The singer is asking for solace so that she can,“ stop getting herself in trouble and just find her baby and stay with her baby.” Time and time again, she finds herself in a bind and love is her only motivation to become a better person and start new. She is an outlaw looking for in-laws, but she can’t seem to be a dame that can be tamed.
The album moves into the song “ Sand,“ which talks about home being a place where you longer find yourself home scrounging for change.” This change could be the one that can only be found from within. Just like sand, and the sands of time, it seems like everything that they pick up falls between the fingers and cannot be held.
This song further illustrates the sentiment of being on the run, not really having a place to experience comfort. Love is always “out there.” A fusion between Hillbilly tooth-missing, hard- up-life mixed with steady predictable rock musings, this song if you allow it takes you along on the fugitive like journey with them.
Old Hat keeps a steady stream of a rambling march, adorned by simple guitar strumming. The band is cohesive; everyone in support of each other, just like a good family should be! Soft brushes are used often especially in “Rattle My Chains” and “Postcards.” Laced with rocking guitar solos and a “playing along” feeling from everyone else in the band, you get the sensation that they are working extra hard to give each family member their time to shine. The front female singer is most obviously the main point of attraction however, and her love stories are the ones being declared.
Overall, the album has a thematic element of being outsiders on the run, and love is somewhere “out there” that they are not. The songs take you on a journey from inside a saloon, to front porch rocking chair performances, to jumping on trains, running away from and toward places that might be potentially home. Each song is inspired by love without any need for anything else whether it be money, shoes or even a good reputation.
The instrumentals are tight and the band is in symbiosis. This album is great if you like gypsy rock, rhythm &blues. Love is portrayed in this album as all too fleeting, especially when you aren’t in one place. I think if the band rocked an accordion, their sound would be even more complete. If they learned trapeze and to juggle while performing too it couldn’t hurt.
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