Kirsten Adamson LANDING PLACE

Kirsten Adamson
Landing Place

Down to Earth Wisdom, Set Alongside Tightly Crafted Melody and Lyrics

My first encounter with Kirsten was when I caught her in a duo with ahab’s (no capital or it’s a different band!) Dave Burn – The Marriage – in the Den at Cambridge Folk Festival 2019.
On that occasion, the duo remarked that they were probably rusty as they coming back into performance after a timeout (they weren’t) , so I was looking forward to hearing new material – but then we all know what happened over the next couple of years and I didn’t catch up with the duo until The Marriage played at the Ramblin’ Roots Revue in High Wycombe in 2022.
Kirsten clearly had been musically busy in the meantime – as well as new material from the duo, she’s also brought this solo album forth – and most enjoyable it is too.

The opening two tracks cover both sides of the parental spectrum – opener “No other Mother”
you’re a fighter/you’ve been through it
speaks of respect for her matriarchal role model
You’re like no other mother – and you’re mine”.
Kirsten’s voice has an ineffable but recognisable Scottish quality and this is equally reflected in Dean Owens’ melody in the wonderful “My Father’s Songs”, a coming to terms with a father lost and found, given great poignancy for anyone knowing of Kirsten’s late father Stuart.
It’s a proud, celebratory and emotionally conciliatory anthem.

“Stars on the South Coast” is a tale of a relationship as a road trip, both literal and metaphorical- and name checks singing harmony to a “Courtney” (Marie Andrews?) song; which may be a first. Again, Gaelic tinged melody and narrative combine to create a fine mix.
“Coals and Ashes” is set in a minor key which reflects its more emotionally pragmatic, yet determined lyricism “These coals won’t turn to ashes”…

Mid-album “I Will Sign” thumps along on the toms as our heroine ledges to “sign away my secrets” – and more.
It’s a tale of commitment and uncertainty.
This duality is also reflected in “Up and Down” –
sometimes the saddest songs don’t always hit the spot” –
it’s a rumination of the effect of music on our mood – it’s a more sophisticated second cousin twice removed of The Smiths “Rubber Ring” in terms of its subject matter, the common link being the redemptive power of music.
“Time With You” is gentler in musical tone, with pads and drones underscoring picked guitar and the simple acceptance that “All I want is time with you”, a plea for more connection in a frantic world.

“They Deserve Better” chugs gently along with a staccato acoustic guitar under a missive of finding – and creating the right kinds of role models amongst a neo-liberal, materialistic world.
“Useless at Being Alone” moves from the universal to the more personal in musically militaristic waltz time.
Steinbeck would approve, in that he said similar things about the need for companionship and fellow humanity.
This personal vein is mined further on “What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Heart” – its musical tone, tremulous vocal and lyri cs both imply a melancholy outcome
I’m OK, but feelings don’t lie”
The final track “Without Warning” ups the tempo to take things out about the volatility of life -both good and bad.
It’s a fitting ending to an album where there is thread throughout about wrestling with life’s extremes and having the strength to accept and deal with whatever comes your way – the confidence and down to earth wisdom, set amongst songs where there’s a tightness about the crafting of melody and lyrics – make this into a strong and thematically homogenous second release.

Review by Nick Barber
Released February 3rd 2023



Daniel Meade
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



Dave Arcari
Devil May Care
Buzz Records

Occasionally Deep, Always Moving and Personal Country-Blues From Old Scotia.

I’m damned if I can describe Dave Arcari and his music without putting regular readers off; as he looks like a Hells Angel after a shower, and while he’s constantly evolving, never recording ‘the same album twice’ …. he’s as charming a fella as you can hope to meet, and his music is predominantly Southern Blues played on a Resonator sung with a grizzled All-Scottish vice that could scare a Rottweiler!
If that’s for you …. and I hope it is; Dave’s seventh solo album is going to be the soundtrack to your life over the next few months.
BTW unusually I will be occasionally quote from Dave’s wonderful accompanying notes; as his stories behind the songs are worth the entry fee itself.
Devil May Care opens the album in A-Typical Arcari fashion; but delve deeper and the story behind the songs tells us that it’s about a legend regarding the Devil flying over a hill, the Whangie – not far from where he lives in Scotland; and here is used as a metaphor for a failed love affair …. clever? Huh?
I may have to come back to 1923; Dave’s love song to his father; as it’ may ‘s one of my Favourites here. So unlike anything I can think of from Arcari’s back-catalogue, 1923 is to all intents and purposes a modern Folk Story of a man who left his home in Scotland aged 15 (in 1923) and went on to ‘do his National Service in the Italian Army– the horse cavalry – in the mid-1920s and embarked on all kinds of adventures when he returned to Scotland …. and regaling his son with stories of him being to be a mountain guide in Morocco, riding across the great Hungarian plain and canoeing the length of the Rhine in one of the first collapsible canoes with his pal Hefty Ilme’.
It’s the kind of homily that will bring a tear to your eyes when you least expect it.
There’s so much to like here; especially as Dave doesn’t sound as loud and angry as I’d normally expect – aging obviously suits him; none more so than on the plaintive Givers and Takers and especially Stick To Your Guns; when his guitar alongside Jim Harcus’s staggering harmonica playing is jaw dropping; but never over shadows the song itself.
A couple of tracks later, Dave tells us about his third love (after his family and music) ….. the Whisky Trail. It’s one of the few Arcari songs that I think lends itself to being covered by other singers; especially as it carefully straddles Folk/Country/Blues like a tightrope walker.
This preceded by a marvelous version of Junior Kimbrough’s Meet Me In the City; which bares very little resemblance to the original; and none at all to the Black Keys’ version …. which says a lot for Arcari’s skills in the studio as well as on stage.
The other cover here is 9lb Hammer; a traditional song that Dave knows from Merle Travis’s version and turns into dark Country Blues that sounds like it was recorded pre-WWII …. and while showcasing the diversity of styles on offer here, still fits in and flows like a Highland mountain stream.
For me; there’s so much on offer here I felt like a kid in a sweetie shop trying to select a single Favourite Song.
The slow and possibly Gospellish Walk The Walk closes the album in a Noir fashion; with Dave forming the song “While cooking some BBQ one evening while listening to Lighting Hopkins” ….. and that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d hear regarding one of his songs.
When I first played this album, the opening to Loch Lomond stopped me dead in my tracks; as it sounded a tad like Rod Stewart’s Amazing Grace (on Smiler) …. and just like that; it left me stunned; as while Dave is very much a Proud Scotsman; I’ve never known him fall into the romantic imagery of songs like this before ….. but I absolutely love it; and it suits his voice and instrumentation fabulously well.
Again; when I first heard the jaunty, almost Wesleyan Walking On Water I thought it must be about something Mystical and even Religious …. only for it to be about Dave learning to paddleboard!!!!!!
Last and certainly not least; is the most ‘Dave Arcari’ song here; Time Will Come, originally released as ‘Brexit Blues’ earlier in the year; which has stuck with me over the last few weeks; and will no doubt carry on inside my head until we finally overthrow the current British Government.
As Dave himself says, “it’s an anti-Brexit song as such, it’s an observation of the political games and spin that make it very difficult and frustrating for people to sort out the facts from the fiction when faced with important decisions to make.”
It’s not as angry as that may sound; it’s sung with resignation a ‘sigh’ in his voice
As I said, at the beginning starting with his albums as part of The Radiotones 20 years or more ago; Dave Arcari has never made ‘the same album twice’ constantly moving on, experimenting and evolving; yet this may be the perfect starting point if you’ve never heard him before.
Thank me later.

Released 18th November 2022


RMHQ Radio Show Ep28 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Episode 28
Nova Radio NE

13th November 2022

The ‘theory’ behind my radio show is meant to be like when we were teenagers, sitting in bedrooms or schoolyards talking about and sharing music.
I could reasonably easily do a weekly two hour show made up of solely New Music from across the Roots Music world; but I like mixing it up with Classic tracks and older songs you may or may not know from the past too.

Pete MolinariLest We Forget
Beth Neilsen ChapmanWalk You To Heaven
Dave ArcariTexicali Waltz
Liz JonesBounty
Daniel MeadeGood Heart Gone Astray
West on ColfaxThe Desert Lives Outside The City
Marianne FaithfulTower of Song
Amelia WhiteSaid It Like a King
David OlneyTwo Bit Hood
Larkin PoeGeorgia Off My Mind
Holy Moly and The CrackersHot Red
Jeffrey FoucaultOne Red Rose
Errol LintonStressed Out
Jason IsbellTour of Duty
Peach & QuietCalgary Skyline
Kenny FosterPoor Kids
Anna LavigneFoolish Heart
Fred HostetlerHe’s Gone Rogue
Giant SandChange Is Now
The Williams BrothersDeath of a Clown
Dr FeelgoodPut your money where your mouth is
Rolling StonesRoute 66
Twangtown TroubadoursWhoa Nellie
Mary GauthierI Drink
Terra Spencer & Ben CaplanGood Friends
Malcolm HolcombeMisery Loves Company
Leonard CohenBird on a Wire
Hurray For the Riff RaffWhat’s Wrong With Me?
Jay and the CooksFrontline Worker Blues
Kris KristoffersonYou Don’t Tell Me What To Do.

RMHQ Radio Show Ep15 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show
Episode 15
Nova Radio NE
Sunday 21st August 2022

Another ‘seat of my pants’ show, with only the first two songs coming from my original ‘ideas’ spread sheet …. after that my notes quickly began to look like a Venn Diagram, with the songs and where they were going to be on the tracklist moving around as if I’d been hacked!
But; the end result was quite a relaxed programme of Roots Music in all its guises.

Rodney CrowellPreachin’ to the choir
Townes Van ZandtPancho and Lefty
Guy ClarkHemingway’s Whisky
Gretchen PetersFive Minutes
3 Pairs of BootsDaybreak
Awna TeixeiraPrince of the Park
Nathaniel RateliffFamous Blue Raincoat
Tift MerrittTravelling alone
Sonny LandrethBound by the Blues
Robert Connolly FarrOde to the Lonesome
Joni MitchellChelsea Morning
David CrosbyVagrants of Venice
Rain Perry (ft Betty Soo)None of Us Are Free
Jason McNiffTunnel of Love
Steve PledgerMatches in The Wind
(Nichole) LundPaper Tiger
Jeremy NailHigher Ground
FaraWind Dancers
Crosby TylerPeace, Love and Beer
RockingbirdsThe Lonely and the Drunk
Wade BowenBurning Both Ends of the Bar
Will HogeYoung As We’ll Ever Be
Canyons & HighlandsHurry Up Angel
Lilly WinwoodLong Haul
Rob Heron & Tea Pad OrchestraSoul of My City

Ricky Ross SHORT STORIES Vol. 2

Ricky Ross
Short Stories
Cooking Vinyl

A Very ‘Grown Up,’ Articulate and Occasionally Poetic Collection of Songs

It’s difficult to know where to start with Ricky Ross; lead singer and songwriter with Deacon Blue, who were always much more than ‘just a Pop band’ ….. try listening to Raintown, released 35 years ago and it still sounds contemporary and adventurous today in 2022.
He’s had quite a succesful solo career that ran alongside; and in recent years has hosted a very succesful and Award winning Americana radio show on BBC Scotland.
So; what to expect from a solo album called SHORT STORIES Vol.2?
Well; whatever I expected isn’t what we receive.
As with most every other song here, the opening track finds Ross playing the piano while an orchestra swoops in and out as he sounds like his eyes are closed tightly shut while he sings a sad ballad with poetic undertones; The New World.
Perhaps these songs are based around happenings in Ross’s life; but to me they sound truly imaginative and even visionary as he creates mini rock operettas, leaving the listener to interpret accordingly and picture the scenarios in their own heads.
Perhaps All Dressed Up and Your Swaying Arms are literal observations; but there’s also a dreamy landscape in the way Ross describes memories of his childhood and on the latter it could be an unrequited love or a break up in his words ….. everyone who hears it will have their own opinion.

There’s a darkness here that appeals in a way it shouldn’t; but as Gretchen Peters famously sang ‘Sad Songs Make Me Happy’ and there are plenty of these here; that’s for sure.
Even on a song titled I Was The Beatle,s Ross manages to find the heartbreak and melodrama in a childhood romance that never progressed as he was ‘The Beatles and you were the Rolling Stones‘ and “You were living and I was thinking.”
I think we all may have had relationships like that …. some worked, others like this … fell by the wayside but still leave a scar.
You’ve probably worked out that this a deep and indeed, slow album …… beautiful in parts and deliberately cerebral in others; where Ricky Ross may even be challenging the listener to understand his words on Bethlehem’s Gate and The Unpath, which again sounds like a poem set to a delicate musical score.
What with the Beatles/Stones backdrop to another song, I was actually a bit disappointed to find that The Foundations wasn’t a bouncy sing-along like the pop group of that name produced in the 1970’s but actually a very clever tale of a break up; and an unmentioned single by The Foundations is his heartbreaking soundtrack ‘Spinning round/spinning round.’
We’ve all been there ….. some more recently than others I presume.
While there’s not a song here that I will ever feel the need to skip over; there are a couple that really, really appeal to my own sensibilities.
The Unknown Warrior is the starkest song on the album; just Ricky, his piano and a song about young men marching off to WWI if I’m not mistaken through these tears in my eyes.
Still Walking and Spanish Shoes are quite similar in context but entirely different in the way Ross tells these stories of love; with the former being a love a father has for his son and the romantic memories of walks the pair do/did together in the hills and glens of Scotia. The latter is more personal and a damn sight darker as the singer walks through an empty city, with only the moon for company as he walks away from a relationship …. possibly a lover; and if he makes it to the morning …
If I get out of here
I’m going to wear my Spanish Shoes
To make you feel good
And make me feel good too
Obviously life’s not always that simple; but this is a song after all.
The tipping point for this song to be my Favourite is the lines:
I stepped out and caught a bus
Rode into the city
Thank you driver/have a good day
As an ex-bus driver I’m pleased to hear that even in his time of despair Mr Ross can still find the time to be courteous to this much maligned worker.
It’s no surprise that this is a very ‘grown up’ collection of songs; destined to be the ‘go to’ when things get too much to bear and you need to hear someone else who has suffered like you; but can articulate your feelings in song.

Released 5th August 2022


RMHQ Radio Show Sunday 10th July 2022

RMHQ Radio Show
Nova Radio NE
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Sunday 10th July 2022

Episode #9? Where does the time go?
On the hottest day of the year I was sweating cobs in the studio but still managed to get through the two hours without taking my clothes off!
As usual we have a heady mix of old and new Americana and Roots Music for you delectation …. enjoy.

Ep 9Hank WilliamsLost Highway
10th JulyHank JrI Like It When It’s Stormy
Tony Joe WhiteOne Hot July
ZZ TOPCheap Sunglasses
Zoe WilcoxFour On The Floor
Shakey GravesBig Time Nashville Star
Shemekia Copeland (ft Sonny Landreth)Done Gone Too Far
Rory GallagherWalkin’ Blues
Patty GriffinJust The Same
Sturgill SimpsonLivin’ The Dream
Laura CantrellAll The Girls Are Complicate
Kane GangMotortown
Malcolm HolcombeThe Music Plays On
Chris DoverIt’s a Difficult World
Tony BengttsonWhat I Wouldn’t Give
Joe PugHymn #35 revisted
Chastity BrownLoving The Questions
Mink DevilleLilly’s Daddy’s Car
Detroit CobrasBad Girl
Martin Stephenson & Jim HornsbyLeft Us To Burn
Johnny CashI Hung My Head
Ryan Law & ShelterCool, Cool, Cool
Daniel MeadeChoking On The Ashes
Ward Hayden & The OutliersWhen The Hammer Falls
Rain PerryWhat’s Wrong With You?
Richard ThompsonWall of Death

James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LOW NIGHTS

James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band
Highlights of The Low Nights
Last Night From Glasgow

Classy Scots Roots Rock With a Healthy Dash Of Americana and Alt.Country on The Side

Sadly this album has been sitting; unplayed on my desk for quite a few weeks ….. I don’t know why either as everything about James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band ticks my musical boxes.
But; played it was three days ago and I then spent a whole evening at work metaphorically kicking myself, for nearly letting it go.
Opening track Gasoline is a fabulous slice of moody Americana with Edwyn’s imagery and imagination right to the fore on a song that could easily come from the John Prine or Sturgill Simpson playbooks with Calexico as a backdrop.
If you like that song – trust me; you are definitely in for the long haul.
While I namechecked Prine and Simpson back there; not everything else here is in the vein, as the band slickly move between the Alt. Country of Love Too Late, Jeremiah and; of course the harmonica heavy Blue while sliding waist high into the Country Rock swamps with Buy Me a Ticket, Is It Enough and the Twang Fest Stargazer which is a contender for Favourite Song.
Tucked away here and there you will also find things that more or less defy pigeon holing – as they are packed with all kinds of musical goodness – I’m particularly thinking of Sometimes We Fade and Because of You here.
Which therefore brings me to the difficult choice of finding a Favourite Song. Earlier I mentioned Stargazer as a contender and it certainly is; but last night I became overwhelmed by Never In Her Eyes; with its delightful rolling guitar backing is probably the most intimate song here and certainly the gentlest (although it’s a dark story when it unfolds) so this morning I’m plumping for that
In typical Scots fashion, there’s a whole lot going on here, with no single musical avenue to pin your hat on; although I’ve filed it under Roots Rock …. but don’t be surprised if they ever turn up second on the bill to some high profile 90’s Indie Band or better still someone at the top of the Americana Pops. But, better still if they turn up in a small club somewhere driveable I think that could be a stunning night of live music.

Released May 27th 2022



Dean Owens
Sinner’s Shrine
Eel Pie Records/CRS

A Magnificent Melting Pot of Influences; Created In Leith Via the American SouthWest

Last year’s Desert Trilogy was a favourite of this reviewer, so I was particularly looking forward to hearing the album that those songs were a precursor to.
Were my expectations fulfilled?
Read on….

Opener “Arizona;” an Owens/Nels Andrews co-write is an epic singalong in style; with washes of pedal steel and trademark Calexico brass bursts that always make me smile whenever they appear.
The Owens/Burns vocal pairing is sublime too – complementary and reinforcing each other into almost one voice.

Second track “The Hopeless Ghosts” appeared on the Desert Trilogy 3, replete with its Grant Lee Phillips guest backing vocal – Mexican in style with trumpet and handclaps – inspired by a Townes van Zandt comment about why his songs weren’t just about sad subjects, but rather hopeless ones – it’s far from that quality, dynamic and colourful in musical tone.

“New Mexico” which follows is probably the track which I’ve played the most from the Desert Trilogy Series and it’s here again in all its widescreen glory of brass, twang and pedal steel.
First heard on Dean’s debut “Droma” release, it’s gone from lo-fi to epic and in doing so, has found its true soul – it’s spectacular.
It’s juxtaposed in this release with the twilight melancholy of Compañera, inspired lyrically by old religious spaces.
Give me the strength to carry on/When I fall behind”
is a message we can all get behind, that of the strength supplied by a (compañera ) partner.
Tom Hagerman’s strings and Antonio Pró’s guitarron hold and embellish this tender tale of support from start to beguiling finish.

Another from the Desert Trilogy, the whistling instrumental “Here Comes Paul Newman” lands mid-album and its “Hud” inspired whistling, segues perfectly into a story of desperation on “The Barbed Wire’s Still Weeping”, of people crossing borders in search of a better life – again, for me Hagerman’s trembling strings reinforce the fear and emotion underscoring the core narrative, adding a power and fragility to the song.

“La Lomita” is another song inspired by a physical shrine, in this case a small chapel on the Mexican border and a place of refuge endangered by Trump’s border wall plan.
A gritty bullet mic-ed vocal adds a sense of menace and threat, allied to the repetitive chanting of “Cross the water/Cross the wire.”

“Land of the Hummingbird” (ft Gaby Moreno) reappears from Desert Trilogy 2 and placed in context of the album it introduces a tale of fictional dark romance after the darkness of reality. Naïm Amor’s guitar adds a visceral thrill of emotional charge which plays nicely against Moreno’s fluid vocal and Burns’ rhythmic piano.

There’s a call for ecological effort on “We need us” and it’s a message conveyed emotively with down in your boots twang, sparkling trumpet and stirring strings. “When it’s gone – it’s gone” is the message – and it’s one you can’t argue with. “Summer in your eyes”, another co-write with Nels Andrews follows and it manages to simultaneously combine hope and melancholy, both lyrically and melodically, allied with spacious production that lifts moments of piano and distorted guitar into the mix.

Final track “After the Rain” is also the first single from the album – inspired by an Ansel Adams photograph, it offers a glimpse of hope – its pulsating balladry, held back from bombast with washes of organ and pedal steel leaves the listener with the earworm of “shine on like the road – after the rain.”

Well, I wasn’t disappointed – as stated, I loved the Desert Trilogy and “Sinner’s Shrine” fulfils my expectations in the way that it stands as a fully realised and sequenced work – it’s a proper album, not just a collection of tracks; and therefore deserves to be played sequentially from start to finish – away with your shuffle!
Last year The Desert Trilogy Series soared immediately into my favourite releases of the year and stayed there – and Sinner’s Shrine has just done the same – a magnificent release.

Review by Nick Barber
Released Friday 18th Feb 2022 (CD/digital)
The vinyl will follow eventually (got caught up in the global vinyl shortage).



ED Brayshaw
Random Repeat
Mescal Canyon

Gallus Blues That Owes As Much to The South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago

Although he’s been in around several British music for donkey’s years; ED Brayshaw only came to our attention two years ago via his collaboration with Friend of RMHQ, Wily Bo Walker; but that long wait has been well worth it.
While I’m bored with artists still telling me that they wrote and arranged their 2021 albums during lockdown; I think it’s actually quite prescient as it allowed writers the time to go back over their work in a way that constant touring probably denied them; meaning many songs and arrangements are less rushed and now fuller and often more ‘professionally’ constructed.
That’s certainly not meant as any form of slight against ED Brayshaw’s previous release; which was chock full of energy and passion ….. but here; I get the feeling that this is more the album that he’s always dreamed of releasing under his own name.
RANDOM REPEAT opens with the glorious Storm Warning; which first appeared on a Wily Bo Walker album years ago; but I hardly recognised it in this guise; and there’s something to be said about Brayshaw’s keen observations that this song is even more ‘on the button’ in 2021 as it was 6 years ago.
While Brayshaw’s warm growl singing style is very much his own; but this song and a few more that follow remind me of Graham Parker and his SQUEEZING OUT SPARKS and ANOTHER GREY AREA albums; a heady mix of anger, passion and divine melodies!
#2 Don’t Change The Way I Feel; a slower acoustic led song; that simmers until it eventually nearly boils over when the squealing electric guitars join the fray; may or may not be a metaphor for the yin and yang we all feel about ourselves; or sadly may be a literal tale of a troubled man whose life is leaving him on the edge.
Even when Brayshaw writes a love song; he doesn’t follow the moon/june route as is apparent from Probably Correct and Just a Night; when Brayshaw sings about and even channels his inner Stevie Ray Vaughan; which both owe more to the South Side of Glasgow than the South Side of Chicago in the the band play in the most swaggering gallus fashion.
I especially like the way Brayshaw uses light and shade across his songs in a musically cohesive manner; one minute he’s singing a gorgeous acoustic Country tinged missive like Tennessee Blues, or the soulfully sweet Take It Away then slinking around the bar on the sleazy and funky Fade Away, and making all sound like blood brothers.
Then, it all comes to a close with the bittersweet instrumental Petite Fleur that closes the disc.
Which also brings me to my choice of Favourite Track.
At first it was obviously going to be the BB/Freddie King influenced Probably Correct which features some sublimely sizzling guitar breaks and a song that many of us will actually correct with; but the more I’ve played the album the more I’ve been drawn to After The Storm, which errs on the side of Americana-Folk in the way Brayshaw takes us on a road trip fraught with danger and fear with his tale that nods towards Steinbeck, Guthrie and Kerouac for content while using a heady Leslie Harvey/Gary Moore guitar hybrid that sounds like a coiled spring to add extra pathos to what is already a stunning song.
From even a cursory listen; it’s all to easy to appreciate why ED Brayshaw has been a go-to guitarist ; but I’m really happy to tell you that he’s been hiding his songwriting skills under a bushel over those years and I love his slow and sultry singing style too.

E D Brayshaw on Guitars and Vocals

Philip Brannan on Rhythm Guitar

Nick Bevan on Bass and backing vocals

Paul Baker on Drums

Released 15th October 2021