TALE TO TELL
Evocative and Romantic Americana From Europe’s Heartlands.
Choosing albums to review isn’t as easy as you’d imagine; as we genuinely get inundated with new music every week, so sometimes it’s a ‘big name’ that will get the site attention, others can be from acts I’ve reviewed before or perhaps it’s an album that has been recommended by a friend or another reviewer and occasionally it can just be ‘pot luck’ that something so minuscule it’s difficult to explain has caught my attention; such is the case with this album from Cary T Brown aka Ill River.
Cary got in touch following a review of Jeff Crosby’s last album and offered up his own latest release…..because a) The music was similar and b) there was a Magpie on the album artwork!
Well; lucky for him I’m a sucker for a Magpie…..and you too; because this album is well worth seeking out.
As always the opening track has to capture my attention; and the liquid guitar break that opens Smile For The Picture certainly did that; and when Cary’s warm and world weary voice entered the fray it quickly had me nodding my head and pursing my lips as a deep and poetic song unfolded before me.
‘Poetic’ as as good a way as any to describe Brown’s writing style; as his songs may not be as ‘literal’ as I normally prefer; but the way this song is constructed and others too (Janey and Little Strings too for that matter) are designed to make you think as you wallow in the language and tightly wrapped guitar fronted Alt./Indie Folk music before you.
American by birth but now based in France Brown’s ‘style’ probably owes more to a romantic vision of Americana than it would were he still to be dragging himself around the bars of his homeland; and this comes across delightfully well on On My Mind and Tie One On which are full of exquisite small town imagery and some mega-cool guitar licks too.
There’s not a bad song here; with every single one having something to capture the listener’s imagination but two are especially ‘magical’ and caught my attention every time I’ve played this record; with My Season which closes proceedings just being pipped by the spiky Alt. Country love song Lucky Guy for the title of ‘RMHQ Favourite Track’ by only the smallest of margins.
Presumably like me regular readers will never have heard of Cary T Brown or Ill River before this review; but fans of Jackson Browne, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, John Hiatt and the likes of Ray Wylie or Robert Earl Keen will love this album with all of their heart.
Released 28th February 2018