Bard Edrington V
Songs, Stories and Tunes That Capture The Spirit and Majesty of the New Mexico Borderlands.
I don’t know which excites me more; receiving albums from Big Labels and PR’s promoting Household Name acts, (which sort of makes what we do feel appreciated after all these years) or the handmade self-releases from acts looking for a break who have stumbled on the site via a review of a friend or possibly an act that they are fond of. (It’s the latter, actually).
Bard Edrington V from Santa Fe, New Mexico falls into the latter camp and even before I tell you about his music; my world is a better place for discovering his music!
Without ever being an overtly ‘political album’ Edrington sings about his homeland of New Mexico and evokes all kinds of imagery that will stimulate your imagination like a Steinbeck novel; starting with the passionate Maidenhair, which will bring some amazing pictures to your head as you live the song alongside Bard’s gently expressive voice.
As a touring musician, Edrington taps into many different aspects of Rootsy Americana to tell his strident stories; using a raw Mariachi sound on the haunting Take Three Breaths and later the deep Gold and Black Mare.
I guess the subject matter and the way he builds his stories makes me think of Tom Russell, Dave Alvin and Ray Wylie Hubbard; but there’s something about his songs Southern Belle and Painted Pony which takes those three as a starting point and leaps forward into a whole new contemporary arena.
As is the way in the Borderlands, musicians can flit from one genre to another in the blink of an eye; and here Bard utilises some kind of ‘Southern Gothic Blues’ on Mango Tree to tell to capture the senses and smells of this magical area.
I’ve talked a few times about the ‘romance’ that Americana Music can induce in City Slickers and foreigners (like me) alike; and Edrington does that with ease and grace with the Appalachian toe-tapper Rendezvous Duel which sparkles and shines like Townes at his hoariest best; and it’s probably true of most other songs here too.
Sitting here in the Spring sunshine it’s proving incredibly difficult to find a single track that I like better than the rest. Spread My Wings is a wonderful Country Love Song, with a fabulous harmonica solo and Riverside Blues shows what a magnificent guitar-picker Edrington is, and the song itself is more than a bit good too; but I’m going for the title track Espadín, as it really is the cornerstone that everything else is built around and as an individual unit has the ability to capture the essence of what Bard Erdington has tried to recreate like no other; and the guitar, mandolin and violin interplay is quite majestic too.
As I said earlier, this certainly isn’t a ‘protest album’ in any shape or form; and nor is it a ‘Rock Opera’ , it’s just a guy and some friends celebrating the various cultures that collide and co-exist across the Borders of America and Mexico in the 21st Century and he’s done it in a way that is well worthy of the attention of fans of Townes, Guy, Tom, Dave and Ray or the countless others who inhabit this glorious area.
While he has recorded three previous albums with his bands; this is Bard Edrington’s debut as a solo performer and really feels like a coming of age for a singer-songwriter who knows and feels what he wants to write and sing about regardless of commercial success ……. but which will surely come, as he has talent in every pore of his body.
Released USA May 3rd 2019
Released UK & Europe June 3rd 2019