Tami Neilson's last two records, Dynamite and Don't Be Afraid, have largely reflected a soul-infused country sound.

In Sassafrass, the soul aspect is much more to the fore, and boy does it work a treat.

The oxygen that is breathed in at Lyttelton's Sitting Room studios has once again produced a record that just has to be listened to.

The songs that Neilson brought to the table for this album are simply sensational.
It has up-tempo soul workouts fired up with a brass section that's sublime.


Stay Outta My Business, Bananas, Devil in a Dress, and Neilson's tribute to the late Sharon Jones all come from that mindset.

In A Woman's Pain, she channels Bobbie Gentry, while she wrote the sultry Manitoba Sunrise at Motel 6, while she was on the road, on the day Glen Campbell died.

For the grand finale, Good Man, the lights are turned way down and Neilson's delivery is the very essence of the soulful sound she was looking for.

It's easy to think about soul greats like Ray Charles on these originals. First class.

The softer, more intimate songs are priceless, but then the full-on workouts blow me away as well.

The lyrics deserve a special mention too, as Neilson stakes her claim for her rights in a man's world. The album title says it all as Sassafrass is slang for a sassy person who isn't afraid to speak their mind.

The tour that accompanies the album's release is an event you just can't pass up.

Listen to Stay Outta My Business here: