The Godfather of Americana goes solo (again)
Billy Bragg famously said “Sid was playing Americana before the term had been coined” and to be fair he probably was as his band the Long Ryders were one of the originators, straddling Country, Rock and Folk without a peg to hang their hat on.
In more recent years he has fronted the UK’s premier Bluegrass ensemble The Coal Porters; who have filled theatres across Europe and beyond.
Subsequently Sid has gone on to be a producer and writer of some great esteem on the history of Country Music in various forms plus his specialist subject; Bob Dylan yet he can still go shopping in Tesco without being recognised.
On THE TRICK IS TO BREATHE Sid goes back to his singer-songwriter roots; combining his loves of Country, Bluegrass and Folk with great on a series of songs that use his unique singing style in a way his various bands don’t.
I was intrigued by the concept of the opening track ‘An Ode To Bobbie Gentry’ in which Sid cleverly inhabits Ms. Gentry on the day she gave up show business; but everything about it is near perfect and I’ve now completely fallen in love with it.
Although it’s got a longwinded title ‘Elvis Presley Calls His Mother After the Ed Sullivan Show’ sees Sid take on the role of the King on the night his life changed; and the love song to his Mother details the naivety and dreams of the boy Elvis; in a way I’ve not heard before.
For me a couple of tracks don’t work; most noticeably the banjo instrumental ‘Front Porch Fandango’ and the Beat Poem ‘Punk Rock Club’; which might appeal to aging hippies but doesn’t bare repeated listening.
But; the album ends with one of Sid Griffin’s finest songs, the jaunty ‘I Will Forget You Very Well’ as it has elements of all Sid’s finest moments; including a wicked sense of humour that weaves through like a silver thread.
Released 18th September 2014