The Black Feathers
Soaked to the Bone
Blue Rose Music
Impressive Genre Straddling Debut Album.
No matter what James Brown said; The Black Feathers are the ‘Hardest Working Duo in Show Business!’
The Black Feathers have crossed my path many times in the last few years; and it always amazed me that they had never actually recorded an actual album; as their self-penned songs, while certainly evolving over the last three years, certainly merited a larger audience. Their excuse was always that they were ‘too busy on the road’ to go into a studio. Well they have; and the wait was certainly worth it.
Soaked To The Bone opens with the harmony filled, acutely lyrically sharp Take Me Back; which received a well deserved, long and loud ovation when I saw them sing it at SummerTyne Festival last year.
While billed as an Americana act; which they undoubtedly are, Sian and Ray give off a lovely Rootsy/Folky vibe at the same time; especially the heavenly Arclight, on which the harmonies will send shivers down your back.
Just as in-concert, The Black Feathers glide up and down the musical scales with the greatest of ease with up-tempo songs All For You and later, Down By The River both having a hummable, if not sing-along melody.
Perhaps its the mood I’m in today; but two really stark songs have really caught my ear. Blind which opens with Ray Hughes deep and rich voice pleading with his lover, then Sian eases in with the guile of a vixen to create a sultry duet that is worthy of anything Emmylou and Rodney have ever recorded.
Another absolute joy; is when Sian takes the lead on the opening of Winter Moves In. Her crystal clear will lead you in like a Siren in a Biblical tale; and when Ray, accompanied by a viola and cello, this chilling tale takes on almost Gothic proportions.
The other is a song that nearly brought the house down at SummerTyne; Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love which was recently a huge hit for Adele. This very simple, acoustic rendition is staggering in the way the couple take the story and twist it inside out; until it’s a sexy and sultry, bittersweet love song that sounds nothing like Adele’s single or indeed, the original.
After all that, the very best is kept until last. On Clear Blue Sky, the couple’s gorgeous voices soar like a couple of courting swallows, as a deceptively complex acoustic backing turns a dark story into a love song, supreme.
As I said earlier, The Black Feathers have certainly ‘paid their dues’ and honed their talents along the highways and byways of Europe; so hopefully they will get their just rewards now that this type of cool Roots music is becoming fashionable.
Released February 26th 2016