Old Salt Union – OLD SALT UNION

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Old Salt Union
OLD SALT UNION
Compass Records

It’s Bluegrass Jim; But Not As We Know It.

Any band that features a horticulturist, a hip-hop producer and a relative of Son Volts Jay Farrar has to be worth a listen, hasn’t it?. The audience for a show at one of the Bluegrass nights at The Ryman theatre in Nashville in June certainly thought so, as they packed the street and area outside the front of the venue for a good hour before going inside to see Old Salt Union, who feature some classically trained musicians but it was the special arrangements of their original tunes and sheer energy that kept the audience on the pavement on that sultry summer night in June.

This album features some of the tunes that have been building audiences across festivals and shows like Bluegrass underground, Freshgrass and Yonder Mountains Harvest Festival. To describe them as Bluegrass misses the point. They aren’t Newgrass, Psycograss, Old Timey or even Folk. There are elements of each of those styles in their playing from the out and out bluegrassy Where I Stand (with memorable harmonies under the melody) to the surprise cover of “You Can Call Me Al”, the Paul Simon tune.

They won’t be the first string band to deliver a creditable cover of Paul Simon; but this one is pretty special indeed. Greensky Bluegrass have featured Gumboots, among many covers in and out of their sets for a good while now,

Old Salt Union’s version is no bad thing. The band have a traditional set up of fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, guitar and banjo. if you want to see their real bluegrass heritage checkout their version of ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast’ on You Tube.

They deliver a masterful ballad in “Bought and Sold” and it’s this restraint that shows off the real talent in the band.

The albums one instrumental, “Flat Baroque”, features some fine twin mandolin too,  and to quote Alison Brown “While they may look like a bluegrass band, their musical sensibilities run much deeper and broader, borrowing as much from indie rock and jazz fusion as from Bill Monroe” And, lets be fair, Alison Brown knows a thing or two.

Courtesy Special Reviewer Tony Pearce.

Released August 4th 2017

https://www.oldsaltunion.com/

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Martin Stephenson & Friends Washington Old Hall.

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Martin Stephenson & Friends
Washington Old Hall.
Tyne and Wear

Saturday 19th 2017

“Welcome to our very own little Woodstock.” Laughed Washington’s finest son; “listen…..and you can hear them flying in from Barmston……and Blackfell…..and even Oxclose!”
How the swelling crowd cheered to hear local villages being name-checked at a ‘Rock Concert.’
So started the first ever concert that I could walk to and from in under 30 minutes each way.
Washington Old Hall is the former home of George Washington and now owned by the National Trust who are trying to dust off their ‘fuddy duddy’ image with a series of multi-cultural events at their premises around the UK.
Tonight local lad Martin Stephenson; who went to junior school and church about 200 yards from the main gate; was making his first appearance in his home-town for many a long year; in the Nuttery……which is a beautiful orchard which had been lit with fairy lights and a bar at one end a stage at the other.
Martin introduced his cousin Jamie and friend John who are known as Violet Chimes to open proceedings. The one time Punk Rockers pleasantly surprised the sold-out crowd with a blend of Indie Rock and Alt. Country Twang.
Their songs had originally been written in the early 80’s but the duo have only got around to recording them recently.
Playing to a sympathetic audience two songs really stood out; Brand New Town…..about growing up in Washington (which was then deemed a New Town) and Heart of Town about their teenage love affairs….in that very same New Town.
Their set was all too brief; but only because the Star was about to do a 20 minute acoustic slot too and there was a strict 10pm curfew less than two hours away.
With a 35 year and 40+ album career to choose a set from; there were surprises around every corner; with Merle Travis’s Cannonball Rag opening the evening followed by the inspired Rain (chosen because the clouds were fair drawing in).
Aware he had to curtail his rambling stories he managed to abridge the intro to Greenhouse (My Grandfather and Me); but the delicate Sad Tale of Joe McCue which followed; involved a little interaction with a couple of old friends in the audience as he explained who Joe had been.
As he was about to start Home, he dedicated it to his dearly departed Mother and the story brought a tear to my own eyes as Saturday would have been my own Mam’s birthday. A rather beautiful and poignant song for both of us.
By the last notes of Slaughterman the cool breeze of earlier in the evening was now becoming a cold wind; but at least it was dry and the warmth Martin and his songs brought meant it was hardly noticeable at all.
There was a fifteen minute intermission, where the queue for the only two toilets on the site meant that some naughty men may have helped water some apple trees; but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Martin on the other hand was glad-handing so many people that he knew from his childhood that he had to be forcible reminded he was there to do a show!
Now with the Legendary Shipcote on Dbl. Bass and the quietest man in Rock n Roll, John ‘Bongo’ Miller on a single snare drum; the second half got off to a swinging start with Little Red Bottle; the first of many songs dedicated to friends in the crowd; one of whom who was late back from the toilet entered the garden and the two enjoyed a minute or so of banter before the pal walked on stage for a handshake and a man-hug, without a care……..you don’t get that at the Royal Albert Hall do you?
It was no real surprise that Martin totally ignored his latest album Bayswater Road in favour of age-old favourites like Sweet Misdemeanour and Salutation Road; plus I finally found out what Colleen was actually about……you live and learn.
No Martin Stephenson gig would be complete without the Anti-Thatcher Classic….. Left Us To Burn, complete with a chorus of Pantomime Boos during the introduction when her name was mentioned and a couple of choruses of Blank Generation on the middle.
For me the absolute highlight of the evening was when Martin started to introduce a song that reminded him of a night he was on a bus coming out of Sunderland which begat a story about various bus routes and their anomalies in his teenage years; then remembered a fight on a bus, which begat a story about the various ‘Fighting Families’ of Olde Washington; many of whom were represented tonight and cheered when their names were mentioned which led into Martin dedicating Blue Moon of Kentucky to a girl he hadn’t seen before tonight since they both left school nearly 40 years ago.
I go back to the beginning by mentioning all the albums and great songs Martin has written in 40 years; so the choice for a finale in such a short and compact set could be seen as bizarre, contrary or even brilliant……Doc Watson’s Southbound, which got to show what a canny guitar player the singer-songwriter is when he sets his mind to it.
What more can I say? I’ve been to hundreds of gigs over the years; but not one in the orchard of historical Manor House with one of my favourite ever artists telling jokes about people I know and the villages I’ve lived in.
I don’t care how many weeks Ed Sheeran sold out the 02 in London I know it didn’t and couldn’t compare to this wonderful hour and a half in the company of one of Britain’s finest songwriters and raconteurs. This is why I absolutely love live music….I was there……you weren’t …..I win.

Photo-Set http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Martin-Stephenson-Washington/

Jefferson Ross – LIVE AT HILLBILLY HAIKU

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Jefferson Ross
LIVE AT HILLBILLY HAIKU
Self-Release

Time Served Troubadour Shows How It’s Done.

The name Jefferson Ross will mean as much or as little to you as it did to me when I first received this album; then I dug a little deeper and found not only has he released 5 studio album under his own steam as a singer-songwriter and has written songs for and appeared on stage with a bona fide who’s who of Nashville’s A-List Country acts over the years.
Here we find him showcasing his songs and telling some sweet stories in-between on an inspired Live Album.
For once on a Live Album we actually hear the act being introduced; and after thanking the audience Mr. Ross treats us to a tightly wound acoustic Country song called Two Horses, that features some mighty neat guitar picking that reinforces Ross’s warmly expressive voice.
A ‘laid back’ approach is the best way to describe Jefferson Ross’s ‘style’; akin to Gordon Lightfoot and Don Williams at times; with House of the Lord and Yesterday’s Paper being prime examples.
I’m not normally a lover of Live Albums; but producer Thom Jutz’ (who can be heard playing guitar too) has genuinely captured the warmth and intimacy of the concert, making it sound like you are there in the room sharing in the magic.
As he was a staff-writer in Nashville for many years I shouldn’t be surprised by the quality of the songs here; but I am. Trying Not To Lose My Mind is a ‘talking Blues’ that evolves into a whip sharp Folk song, that I normally associate with Tom Russell or RMHQ favourite David Olney; especially as it includes more minutiae than an encyclopedia.
While I love just about every single charming song here; especially Sol is Made of Broken Things, 77 Lime Green Cadillac Hearse and the glorious harmonies on The Thunder which closes the concert; but tucked away in the middle are two back to back songs that made me twist my head to the speakers in disbelief; first is Family Drama a fun song that will resonate with most people of our age then, it is followed by the deeply personal Isle of Hope and it’s even more personal introduction. I won’t spoil the surprise for you…but…phew…..spellbinding springs to mind.
So, I’ve made another amazing musical discovery in Jefferson Ross and I hope that you will too.

Released June 23rd 2017

http://jeffersonross.com/

Sierra Hull – WEIGHTED MIND

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Sierra Hull
WEIGHTED MIND
Rounder Records

Taking Bluegrass Into A  Semi-Classical Sphere.

Sierra Hull is one of those names that gets whispered alongside a ‘knowing look’ in certain circles these days; which is no surprise when you see who appears alongside the young singer-songwriter on her second album.
First and foremost Sierra Hull is recognised as an amazing mandolin player; and boy is that evident on the intro to Stranded which opens this disc; not a song as I understand as Sierra only occasionally whispers “Dear 22, I’m stranded here” a couple of times over her divine mandolin and possibly a bowed Double bass to create a hypnotic piece of music.
The instrumentation and heritage alludes to this being a Bluegrass album; but the construction of songs like Fallen Man and Queen of Hearts/Royal Tea far exceed the limitations of that particular genre; as do others too.
There is a slight hint of the young Nanci Griffith on a couple of songs; most noticeably the ethereal Birthday which has an almost Southern Gothic feel to it and the harmonies with Abigail Washburn will send a shiver down your spine the first time you hear it.
Bela Fleck’s production must be applauded too, as he somehow manages to give very limited instrumentation (a mandolin and dbl. bass) a very ‘big’ sound; which is why I draw a comparison with chamber music, but never ever does it ever compromise Sierra Hull’s amazing voice.
Much like the banjo I can find the mandolin a tiresome instrument at times; normally when played at 100 mph to show how ‘brilliant or dexterous’ the player is; but in Sierra Hull’s hands it becomes a thing of rare beauty; never more so than on the darkly Celtic sounding Wings Of The Dawn.
When I first heard the wonderful title track Weighted Mind the name Alison Krauss instantly sprung to mind; then I read the notes on the album sleeve and there was Alison’s name on harmonies! All I can say is, while Ms Krauss adds some substance to the song; it would be just as good without her inclusion, which is a phrase I never ever expected to write.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised beyond belief by this album; which should make choosing a favourite song difficult; but it isn’t; as the finale Black River is quite the epic; showcasing Sierra’s clever, intricate and almost poetic style of songwriting with her clever, intricate and poetic mandolin playing, with the added bonus of a choir made up from Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss, Rhiannon Giddons and Bela Fleck on harmony vocals; and when Sierra Hull’s beautifully crystal clear voice filtered from the speakers on a warm Summers evening I was instantly transported into some kind of musical Heaven.
As I implied at the start, you have to be a very special talent indeed to attract Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss, Rhiannon Giddons and Bela Fleck, who also produced the album to aid and abet you so early in your career and Sierra Hull most certainly is a very special talent indeed.

http://www.sierrahull.com/home

Released Jan 20 2016

Joe Bonamassa LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening).

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Joe Bonamassa
LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening).
Provogue/Mascot

Guitar Virtuoso Discovers His Brilliance Knows No Bounds.

Joe Bonamassa probably divides opinion among Blues and Rock fans more than anyone else has for decades. His fans can be like acolytes hoovering up everything he releases and taking any criticism personally; whereas plenty of others dismiss him out of hand as a ‘soulless showman,’ and in my humble opinion both sets are wrong.
Prolific, he’s now released 24ish albums in 17 years and while I’ve only been reviewing them for 5; my own feelings towards him and his music have certainly evolved from being in the latter camp – once describing him as a ’21st Century Alvin Lee – the fastest guitar in the West’ but more recently I’ve come to admire the way he constantly challenges himself and allows himself to evolve in a way I’ve not seen since the cusp of the 1960’s and 70’s.
My biggest criticism of Bonamassa’s earlier albums was that a) his voice was a bit too thin and b) his guitar playing was too fancy and long winded which were both highlighted on his many Live albums.
Both wrongs have been righted in recent years when he has ‘discovered his Roots’ and slowed things down; and LIVE at CARNEGIE HALL (An Acoustic Evening) really showcases the ‘new’ Joe Bonamassa.
The album opens with a ‘bang’ as the band throw everything they have at This Train and the addition of International artists playing a multitude of acoustic instruments make it almost unrecognisable from the album version. With so much going on behind him it should be impossible for Joe to make his own acoustic guitar stand out; but….. boy….does he manage it; and his now slightly worn-in voice sounds wonderful.
As the applause dies down a much gentler almost mystical sound filters from the speakers and again we get a completely updated version of Drive, which is taken into the territory I would normally associate with the legendary John Martyn.
More Classic Bonamassa songs are also turned inside out and come out the other side all the better for this refreshing treatment; never a lover of Dust Bowl I sat transfixed twice as I finally got to listen to the words; and I now I get to revel in some delicious bottle neck playing on the intro to Black Lung Heartache; and song really does become the atmospheric epic it always threatened to be.
As expected on previous live outings everything revolved around Bonamassa’s brilliant and technical electric guitar playing; but even allowing for the fulsome instrumentation included here, the songs are allowed to breathe letting the listener hear the beautiful stories that make up Get Back My Tomorrow and the gentle Mountain Time.
There are a couple of songs here that I wasn’t previously aware of, in particular Song of Yesterday from his Black Country Communion days; and the inclusion of some female backing singers and Bonamassa’s all-powerful acoustic playing had me thinking of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen album; and probably that is as good a reference point for this record as any, especially because of the inclusion of Reese Wynans on piano.
I last heard Hummingbird on the Live at The Greek album and yet again; it is virtually unrecognisable in this beautiful format, and all the better for a ballsy Rootsy/Americana treatment that truly showcases Bonamassa’s skills on an acoustic guitar.
Unlike his previous Live Albums where everything plus the kitchen sink is thrown at the finale; tonight things slow down real, real slow for a beauteous rendition of The Rose which closes the night with more of a sigh than a scream, and works perfectly.
The production throughout is crystal clear with every instrument and voice being heard in it’s right place, behind Joe Bonamassa’s masterful guitar playing and endearing singing.

Favourite track? That’s easy…..How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live? An age old tale that is still a soundtrack for 2017 and Joe Bonamassa sings the bones out of it!
There’s next to no chit-chat between songs but if you want that there is also a DVD available too which has the addition of a Behind the Scenes film, with Joe talking about guitars (fancy that!), lots of photos and an extra song, and for audiophile there’s even a 3 x LP release too.

Released 23rd June 2017

https://jbonamassa.com/

 

Carrie Elkin THE PENNY COLLECTOR

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Carrie Elkin
THE PENNY COLLECTOR
Self-Release

Sensational Songs from the Poetic Edge of the Folk Spectrum.

Oh dear; this album by one of my favourite singer-songwriters very nearly got overlooked; such is the organisation on my desk at RMHQ.
Thankfully I found it just in time to scream its delights from the rooftops prior to its release.
I think I’ve seen Carrie play live 4 or 5 times now; either alongside her husband Danny Schmidt or more usually with Sam Baker and each time I hear her I think “She is too good for this, I want to see and hear her sing on her own!”
Then; as if by magic here is her fourth (or sixth if you count her firs 2 self-releases) album and; well…..keep reading.
Opening track New Mexico is absolutely spellbinding from start to finish; with Carrie’s crystal clear voice as she pours her heart out, dealing with the death of her father. Don’t worry. This isn’t maudlin; it’s a beautiful loving tribute for and about a very interesting man; and one I now wished I’d met.
This is followed by Always on the Run; possibly but less obviously about her father again, but words that touched me quite deeply as I lost my eldest brother only a couple of weeks prior to first hearing this touching song.
As usual I’d listened to THE PENNY COLLECTOR 3 or 4 times before reeding the accompanying Press Release; only to find that these songs were written and collated in a year where Carrie not only lost her father but gave birth to her first child; a daughter, which makes a lot of sense as songs like Tilt-A -Whirl and Niagara do sound like a wordsmith looking back at and reassessing their life in the most articulate manner.
With that theory in mind the snappy My Brother Said becomes ever more ‘interesting’ if it’s to be taken literally. I won’t give anything way; apart from the aggressively played electric guitar and the timbre in her voice resurrected some memories from my own life and I guess many out there will give a rye smile when they hear it too.
Again it was only when I read the notes that I realised the almost otherworldly rendition of American Tune wasn’t Carrie’s own words but those of Paul Simon! If you are going to cover a song; at least change it around…..and Carrie alongside producer Neilson Hubbard have turned this one upside down and inside out to create a minor masterpiece.
This is a compelling set of songs and must be heard as a complete work; but two songs in particular affected me quite profoundly, both very very different reasons and from both ends of the spectrum in Carrie’s ‘story’.
And Then The Birds Came is another song about her father; and with my own brother’s death still raw it caught me quite by surprise. While specifically about Richard Elkin (1942-2015) the sentiment is general enough to be about any loved one who has left our lives; which is the hallmark of a great songwriter.
The other Live Wire is about a rebellious daughter who was ‘Daddy’s little girl’ but ‘ran away to the Carnival’ before returning. I neither know nor care if this is a true story; because it’s such a cool and absorbing tale that I visualise an accompanying video I’m going to direct. It’s in mono/sepia with shots of Carrie singing and strumming her guitar interspersing with the character drifter in and out of shot via dream sequences……just a thought, well; it’s my thoughts actually.
If you’ve not heard of Carrie Elkin before; think Nanci Griffith or Emmylou Harris with an extra spark and sparkle and you will be somewhere in the vicinity.
Coincidentally (as if!) Carrie will be touring the UK alongside her husband Danny Schmidt in May and June; hopefully Danny will have a sore throat the night they come to Newcastle so I can hear Carrie Elkin sing these and others in all her singular glory (only kidding Dan).

http://carrieelkin.com/

Released UK April 7th 2017

Keston Cobblers Club – ALMOST HOME

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Keston Cobblers Club
ALMOST HOME
Tricolour Records/Absolute

Harmonious and Folklicious Music That Stirs The Soul and Your Feet.

I’m walking a tightrope with this review; as I’m going against all my principals by listening to a ‘stream’ of the album and writing about it ‘live’…..not over several sessions spread over a couple of weeks.
The title track Almost Home gets proceeding off to a lovely start, as what sounds like three part harmonies shadow Matt Lowe’s warm and expressive voice. In the background an intricately plucked guitar and a tightly wrapped Folk orchestra provide a fog of acoustic auditory sensations.
The title of Track #2 Concord intrigued me straight away; as it is the name of the original town in Washington where I live. Thankfully this intricate Nu-Folk song isn’t about Pound Shops and drunken shenanigans in and around Wetherspoons on a Thursday afternoon; instead it’s a bittersweet, (with the emphasis more on sweet) love song sung around some clever banjo and piano before it all ends with a sweeping orchestral closure. Different, yet fascinating at the same time.
While occasionally nodding back to their forbears in the 1970’s The Keston Cobblers somehow still manage to plough their own musical furrow with songs like Demons and the inspired lo-fi of Walls.
While not normally my first choice of music to listen to; and I remind you this is a ‘first take’ review a couple of songs really stand out; Bicycles uses the siblings (Matt and sister Julia) voices like an extra instrument on a clever and nimble song that transcends the Folk genre. While On Your Own takes a massive leap to the left with some Soca guitar, funky bass-lines and a bit of a Electronica back-beat supporting two luscious voices singing and harmonising like Angels. The song ain’t half bad either.
Then there is All I Need, which closes the band’s third  full length album. Julia Lowe’s sensual voice lights up a tight Folk-Rock love song and made me go weak at the knees; and was the first song I played a second time…….only to find it was even better than the first!
After listening only once to ALMOST HOME I can hear why the Keston Cobblers Club are as popular as they are with the ‘young people’; being a lot more easy on the ear than their peers, the recently departed Bellowhead and Mumford and Sons.
In Julia and Matt Lowe they have two excellent vocalists and the band behind them; with their eclectic instruments are truly exceptional musicians; plus the production is exceptional somehow merging and melting so many disparate parts to create such a singular distinctive sound.

http://kestoncobblers.club/

Released March 31st 2017

EXCLUSIVE Simon Murphy – Empty Room (SINGLE)

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Simon Murphy
Empty Room (SINGLE)

It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago when we first received Northern Irish singer-songwriter Simon Murphy’s debut album Let It Be; but it was actually 2015.
In the intervening years a lot has happened, including the birth of his (and his wife’s!) first son…plus he has been honing his talents in that Nashville Town, US of A.
The first song to come from those sessions is this beautiful song, Empty Room co-written by Simon and Sean Trainor and he has allowed us the EXCLUSIVE first play anywhere in the WORLD!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Eamon Friel – TAKEAWAY EP

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Eamon Friel
TAKEAWAY EP
Thran Records

Heart-warming Quaint and Quirky Songs From Irish Singer-Songwriter.

Eamon Friel is one of those names that crop up every couple of years at Festivals and on the club circuit; yet I’ve never seen him play before, which I actually find odd. He’s released quite a few albums over the years and I love the fact that he is still employed by BBC Northern Ireland writing and performing ‘topical songs with a political flavour’……now there’s a skilled job!
His latest EP of four self-penned songs, opens with Takeaway, which is a bit of a delight actually; as Friel recalls the time he moved to London as an ‘innocent 18 year old Irish boy’ and took work in a Chinese restaurant…..as you do. The characters are all very well observed, especially the owner Mr. Woo, who sings while cooking and the unrequited love of young Eamon; Jasmine. It’s the type of song only an Irishman can write; making you laugh, smile and sigh all at the same time.
Track #2 Across is more up my street; a charming modern folk song; featuring some intricate guitar and accordion accompanying the story of a young man skimming stones onto a lake and dreaming of what lies beyond that mysterious horizon. Funnily enough it’s another song that will make you smile and sigh; but for entirely different reasons.
The short disc comes to a close far too quickly with a song from another of Eamon Friel’s earlier albums Here Is The River; and All The Lost Things really highlights Friel’s imaginative songwriting and storytelling. After seeing a tattered leather jacket tangled in a tree the writer then sets off on a journey recounting ‘All The Lost Things’ he has seen and owned including a ‘lost sheep’…..is that the singer or someone else; we don’t find out, but it’s a wonderful tale.
Which all brings us to my favourite song here. Well; if you’d described it to my two weeks ago I would have sneered at you for not knowing my musical taste at all…..yet……the traditionally comical, folk song James Joseph Alphonsus never fails to make me smile and usually sing along (sometimes out loud!) whenever I play it. The song about a boy with an old fashioned name couldn’t be any more Irish if it was played on shamrocks and Guinness glasses! Everything about it should have made me press FF but no; this old fashioned love song about a Mammy and her son is actually quite beautiful in every which way; making it our song of the week at RMHQ.
As a ‘sampler’ of his work; this EP works exceptionally well showcasing an exceptional songwriter who can glide in and out of ‘moods’ with the greatest of ease; which is quite some talent.

RELEASED 10th March 2017

Guy Clark – The Best of the Dualtone Years

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Guy Clark
The Best of the Dualtone Years
DUALTONE

A Consummate Collection Of A Master’s Latter Years.

Guy Clark? Where do I start? On a recommendation from the owner, a retrospective of his early recordings (priced £5.99) was one of the first Americana CD’s I ever bought in the long gone Goldrush Records, Perth Scotland and proved not to be just a gateway into his work, but that of Townes, Rodney, Nanci and Steve Earle….. and the rest is history.
By the time Guy signed for Dualtone Records in 2005 he was something of a ‘forgotten man’ and the industry probably presumed his best years were long gone.
As this retrospective of the Dualtone recordings proves…..how wrong they were!
This perfectly balanced Double Album opens with Rain in Durango, then saunters through Hemingway’s Whisky and My Favourite Picture of You……PHEW……find me a songwriter in the last 20 years who has wrote a better song than any of those three and I will be surprised….and remember this was meant to be the ‘tail end’ of Clark’s career!
Since his death in 2016 he has been mentioned a lot in the Press Releases I receive as an ‘inspiration’ and occasionally a ‘mentor’ for many much younger singer-songwriters; and you can hear and feel why that would be the way he couples simple observations with a beautiful way with words on songs like Out In The Parking Lot and Tornado Time in Texas to draw the listener in and keep them entranced.
Not a young man when he recorded Cornmeal Waltz but his voice sounds timeless and almost ethereal as he recalls the heady nights of his youth…….and I pretty much guess that there was a twinkle in his eye whenever he sang it.
For younger listeners there’s even the addition of four of his earlier/classic songs with The Cape, Dublin Blues, L. A. Freeway and the quirky Homegrown Tomatoes from his 2011 Songs & Stories album……which is well worth checking out for the stories alone.
As the vast majority of existing Guy Clark fans will already have the four albums these songs are culled from the ‘carrot’ for them is the inclusion of three previously unreleased songs.
I’m normally cautious about such things; but all three ‘demos’ fit in perfectly with what has gone before, with the first being the simple and haunting Just To Watch Maria Dance, then a co-write with Hal Ketchum The Last Hobo but Time, a collaboration with Marty Stuart shows that not all the good songs made it onto disc.
I could push a pin into the track list and tell you that song was my favourite; but I will point new readers to two songs that encapsulate everything I love in Guy Clark’s writing and singing.
As a master-craftsman who spent many long days making…..no creating handmade guitars, The Guitar is a love song that only a true musician could write and his attention to minutiae is astonishing; as is his own guitar playing.
The other is one of the ‘live recordings’; The Cape …….”A song about jumping off a garage” as Clark introduces it is…..well, just you go and find it and tell me you didn’t have tears in your eyes too.
Guy Clark will be sorely missed; but his legacy lives on in these songs and others; all of which will be studied and played for decades to come.

RELEASED March 3rd 2017

http://guyclark.com/