Frankie and the No-Go Road
All That is Good in Americana and American Folk.
Two years ago I was left dumbfounded by Rita Hosking’s previous and fifth album Little Boat and here she has managed to surpass those heady heights.
Loosely a series of song-stories that detail Frankie’s ‘journey’ (through life?) the album begins with the delightfully sharp A Better Day; where Rita’s voice has never sounded finer and a series of harmonica solos that will send shivers down your spine.
Some years ago I suffered from the little known ‘banjo fatigue’ but the instrument has subsequently gone out of fashion in Country music; but when Rita plucks the life out of hers on the emotional Power Moving In; you are hearing a Master-craftswoman at work and the passion in her voice comes through in every note.
The banjo is a lot more intricate on Mama Said; but the story is just as crisp and thoughtful; and Rita’s voice is warmer and fuller that I’d remembered; as it is on the evocative Resurrection; which brought back memories of the early Nanci Griffith albums.
Every time I’ve played this wonderful album one track sticks out like a poppy in a field of wheat; Our Land which opens with a Neil Young, Harvestesque harmonica and follows with a heart crushing song that is worthy of that genre defining album. Listen for yourself; it’s a pearl.
Not on the album; but you can get the new single Where the Grassroots Grow from the website http://www.ritahosking.com/new-single and wallow in her intricate observational details and gorgeous tune.
It’s a brave man who compares any singer-songwriter to Nanci Griffith in her heyday; but I can place my hand on my heart and say Rita Hosking is certainly a contemporary; and with Nanci’s health problems she certainly fills that void with aplomb.
Released USA October 1st 2015
Released UK & Europe October 30th 2015