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Achilles Tenderloin New Album 'Tincture for Trouble'

Folk and acoustic blues singer, Joe Augustin, goes by the name Achilles Tenderloin. Tincture for Trouble is a 10-track album of musical pieces that incorporate blues, folk and also a touch of country (among other sounds) into their individual recordings.

For example, “Kiss the Ground” is a dark tune built around acoustic blues. It, and everything here, is driven by Augustin’s tortured-sounding lead vocal. He sings with a shaky voice, which lends added weight to the songs he sings. He sounds almost to the breaking point many times. It’s as though the very act of singing these songs is pushing him to (or past) the breaking point.

“Don’t Be Long,” however, offers a welcome break from the album’s overall edginess. Atop another acoustic arrangement, highlighted by fiddle and mandolin, this song – which also includes an unobtrusive backing female vocal – kicks at the darkness until it bleeds wonderful daylight. Augustin sings it over a lilting groove, which shows how he also does, indeed, have a lighter side to his singer/songwriter personality.

Prettier sounds don’t last too long, though, as harsh acoustic blues returns with “Never Trust a Barber.” This one finds Augustin taking a defensive position, lyrically, as he strikes out against those that

might try and tell him how to live his life. He’s not going for that at all. He’s an individual that knows what’s best for him.

The county side of Augustin’s personality comes through most clearly during “Falls Thistlewaite.” This one incorporates plenty of steel guitar, as it clip-clops to a recognizably country music groove. Similar

to “Don’t Be Long,” it finds Augustin singing with a much more jovial musical personality. (Well, about as jovial as he can get, which is not exactly nearing Santa Claus level levity). Still, it’s once again a

breath of fresh air. A light turned on in a dark room, and truly enjoyable.

The album’s title track is slightly country, slightly folk. It goes to a waltz time and sounds a little like a sad dance tune. There is fiddle on it, but it’s closer to gypsy fiddle, than to anything you might expect to hear at a downhome barn dance.

The album closes with “Howlin’ at the Earth,” which is unlike anything that comes before it. Instead of typical folk/country instrumentation, this one includes a saxophone weaving its way through the mix.

Nevertheless, there are also ominous acoustic stringed instruments in its overall recording. Augustin sings it with true dread. In fact, he even howls a bit toward the end of the track, mirroring the song’s

title. It’s a little bit like a Gothic country song, played with a jazz saxophonist sitting in. Then again, “Torch Song” features muted trumpet, which sounds like the soundtrack to an old-time burlesque show. Thus, there is a lot going on during this album. More than may meet the eye upon initials glance.


Joe Agustin’s Achilles Tenderloin recording, Tincture for Trouble, is an album that explores the dark side of life, but sometimes does so in the most surprising ways. It also lets just a touch of light shine through its windows at times. This makes it quite a curious specimen.

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