What are the components that make a great rock album? For starters, you need good, well written songs that the
people who wrote actually care about. Experience, well-delivered lyrics, years of practiced chops and the “earned”
ability to lift and carry the listener along, as well as a generally cohesive nature. That’s what makes this Tisdales record
such an impressive audio achievement.
This group has a reputation as a consistent crowd-drawing bar band; an original-song Minnesota bar band that plays a
lot of shows. And it can be super tricky to get that “in the moment” sound on tape; that reckless purity and raggedy, at
times chaotic but sheer, clear power. That is the pleasant surprise here; the elevated overall sense of this record. And most
importantly, the ENERGY. That sparkling energy has been captured at Sparta Sound Studio.
Back in 1980 the Vapors had a song called “Spring Collection.” This new Tisdales album could very well be subtitled
“Spring Conviction.” The connection between ‘collection’ and ‘conviction’ is not only the affable instrumental “The
Roundup” but again it is the sonic quality of the overall recordings. Standout tracks (but definitely not limited to) include
“Tin Canoe”, “Trouble Ain’t Too Hard To Find”, and the one charging right out of the gate, “You Can Tell the Whole World
About It.” Sounds like a trainload of steaming iron ore pellets barreling from the Iron Range down to the docks in Duluth,
full force. The friendly instrumental mentioned sounds like Haircut 100 meets “Buck Hill” with Roy Thomas Baker pro-
ducing. But THIS album was produced by Rich Mattson. Rich has won four Minnesota Music Awards and has been part
of the Minnesota music scene for over 25 years (Ol’ Yeller, the Glenrustles, Flowerpot Studios). The guy (one of the
most humble people you’d ever meet) is a living legend and when a songwriter has this extraordinary amount of
experience and talent, he needs bandmates of this particular caliber. He and Tony Derrick’s guitars are totally, completely
dialed (both accomplished singers, they share vocal duties) and their full-on two guitar attack is elevated by Derek
Rolando and Jason Kokal’s bouyant and trustworthy rhythm section, making those vocals downright bonus. The icing
on the cake effect is not unlike an unassuming guy who lands a super-model by lucky accident. But note that the vocal
delivery and cadence here on these songs is not even close to luck, it’s the result of years of touring and performing,
writing and recording. They are a BAND, not just four guys playing music together. And the Tisdales create a dynamic
infused with this upper level of solid, seemingly effortless musicianship.The priceless luxury of abandon. They make it
look and sound easy!
I could go on about how many bands these guys have been in and all that about “paying dues” but that would be redun-
dant and kind of nauseating, like when a local rag compares an independent release to The White Album. The key here
is this: While groups have come and gone and come back again, this band has not only retained the elusive and envied
edge so essential to rock but have proved here that they are still moving forward with much momentum. No small feat
in the business of rock-n-roll. The album has a nice range of styles-too many to tag with adjectives and it has all of the
elements required: High quality writing, arranging and collaboration as well as execution itself.
The music here is raw and blistering, strong and hard working, yet fun and not in the least self-concious or second-
guessing. And it’s a tight album. But not so tight that you can’t get into it. And pretty much everybody can appreciate
-Ray Reigstad 2012, author of “Chickentown,” “Scraps of Infinity” and eight others.