Review by Roy Peak
Just over ten years ago Wonky Tonk and Juan Crosby produced her album SuperHolyFantastic & Hippie Dirt (Business and Pleazure). Now they’ve teamed up again for Tonk's latest album titled Breaking Patterns. This is an album of catharsis and rebirth, of soldiering on and taking chances.
Tonk has a voice reminiscent of Nashville singer-songwriter Tywanna Jo Baskette, and Tonk also shares Baskette's love of stream of consciousness style songwriting and an "anything goes" musical work ethic. Producer Crosby has created a noisier album than Tonk's last one which we reviewed here at SacredChickens, Lessons and Lovers, but the emotional depth and grit still shine through, mostly through Tonk's honesty, fearlessness, and sense of perseverance.
The songs here range from opening tune "Dear Darryl" about moving on to better things, "Box of My Love" which is cathartic and wistful, and "Offline"—written during the pandemic while Tonk herself was still stranded in South America, with no sign of anything getting better. "Put Down the Donut" is a fuzz guitar self-help manual. In "Go Lay Down" Tonk entails: "Sometimes I wanna lay down, but the dreams don't come and the sun, it doesn't shine" and you know EXACTLY what she means.
Tonk and her band are releasing several videos this year in conjunction with the album. I highly recommend "Box of My Love" which puts Tonk onstage at Durty Nelly's in Virginia having a blast along with the bar patrons: https://youtu.be/bIBxkVbMq0M
You can purchase Breaking Patterns here:
You can also witness a live stream of Wonky Tonk & The HighLife in Cincinnati here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxzP6ABkz3k