AN ESSENTIALLY NON ESSENTIAL COMPILATION OF RECORDINGS FROM THE LAST TEN YEARS (2013-22)
From The Top Records
A Cornucopia Of Scots-Americana Hidden Treasures.
When this album I wasn’t particularly in a ‘good place’ mentally and to some extent the website and radio were taking their toll on me; mostly because of the hours I/we put in and a couple of disappointing ‘criticisms’ of our work hit hard.
But; in with the CD and Press Release was a lovely handwritten note from Dan; thanking me for previous ‘insightful’ reviews and it fair tugged on my heartstrings …. it’s things like this keep me/us doing what we do.
In the last ten years, Daniel Meade has released 14 or 15 albums, most from the studio but during the lockdowns he also put out a couple of Live Albums that like everything I’ve heard in that decade; were never less than ‘listenable and interesting’ and sometimes full of hidden treasure.
Instead of the cumbersome title he has chosen; personally I’d have gone for HIDDEN TREASURE as that’s what we have here.
That ‘treasure’ starts with Keep Right Away, a fiddlicious Scottish Country-Folk song that I didn’t recognise, that would be just as home in a Louisiana Saloon or a Hebridean ceilidh as it would be at a raucous East End of Glasgow pub on a Friday night.
This is followed by a rumbunctious boogie-woogie of Juliette, a love song that will have you laughing, crying and dancing!
Generally speaking I’d forgot how much fun Meade’s albums were (or probably still are); but there are some absolute ‘bangers’ here (as the young people say!) ….. the honky-tonky Mother of Mercy is dark, but fun too with a chorus Tom Waits could only dream of writing; Look No Further and Please Louise will both have you tapping your toes and mouthing the words; even when you’re washing the dishes. Plus, when he takes on the role of a bedroom balladeer on the Meade Classic, Let Me Off at The Bottom is as finer piece of Country songwriting that never came out of Nashville; East or otherwise.
Speaking of Nashville, the more recent Sleeping On the Streets of Nashville is the type of song that will squeeze that will squeeze the heartstrings of every other musician who hears it.
Then, there is the introspective Indie guitar ballads These Things Happen and As Good As It Gets still feel like punches to the gut, years after I first heard them.
I’ve recently been accused (again) of only producing ‘positive’ reviews; which I do! I’m not qualified enough to tell you that the production here and there isn’t what it should be; or a bit of writing could or should have been tidied up …. for me that’s the flawed beauty of music ….. if I wanted super smooth, crystal clear music I’d listen to Pink Floyd or Coldplay; but I choose Daniel Meade because of the passion he gives us in songs like Fixing Quicksand, By The Book and The Choices That You Make, which I can relate to …. and mostly just bloody enjoy as I tunelessly sing-along to!
There have certainly been hidden treasures here for me; not least the feisty Bullets and Bones, On The Line and What You Waiting For, which I’d all but forgot about …. but dusted off in this package showcase what a great and eclectic songwriter/musician and Scottish National Treasure, Daniel Meade is.
Plus I still sport the If It’s Not Your Fault (It’s Mine) sticker on my laptop, so the live version here has to come into contention; but those who know me and my reviewing will expect me to go off-piste with my choice of Favourite Song; but here I can’t look past the fabulous Shooting Stars and Tiny Tears, which still sounds as intricate, fresh and mentally intoxicating as it did the first time I heard it back in 2017; one ‘those songs’ so few writers ever get to write, no matter how hard they try but Meade captures that ‘feeling’ so many of us have, but can’t quite articulate …. so for that and all the other pleasure his songs have brought us, I say “Thank you, Dan.”
PS If and when you hear some really, good and usually cool guitar licks here; that’ll be Lloyd Reid btw.
Released February 24th 2023
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