The Steel Woods OLD NEWS

The Steel Woods
Old News
Thirty Tigers

Southern Rock That Will Kick Your Butt and Break Your Heart

OH BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY! Have I been waiting to tell you about this doozy of an album!
This is another CD that arrived way before Christmas, therefore allowing me plenty of time to play it at leisure (and a few times for leisure alone and not as a review session) and the time has finally come to release it out into the wild.
As always we start with the opening track, and late one fateful November night I slipped the disc into the car stereo, not knowing what to expect and BANG…. I was instantly whisked back to the mid-1970’s and watching some hirsute band of bewhiskered ne’er do wells, invariably wearing flared jeans, baseball shirts, waistcoats and either Converse Chuck Taylor’s or Cowboy boots on the Whistle Test. At least one would be sporting a battered Stetson hat too……. you can’t even imagine how exciting and exotic such a sight was in my tiny mining village. And the music???? Southern Rock they called it; and it changed my life.
When you hear the staggering twin guitars, diesel powered bass n drums and Wes Baylis’s grizzled and chiselled voice on opening track All Of These Years, you too will have the dust blown from the last 40 odd years and you will be a teenager all over again.
For me this album has been as exciting as anything I heard way back when, with powerhouse songs like Blind Lover and Compared To a Soul both adding a 21st Century spark to a Classic sound that I thought had gone out of fashion years ago.
The band’s Country Roots come to the fore a couple of times too, with Anna Lee being a tight as a drum Bakersfield diversion and the dark instrumental Red River (The Fall of Jimmy Sutherland) will surely be the intro to any encores the band play on tour.
Just to show their combined versatility there’s a tearjerker of a Rock Ballad hidden away in the middle; Wherever You Are, and it could easily be the type of song to play out over the credits of some moody Crime thriller set in an edgy town somewhere in the Southern States and starring someone like Woody Harrelson or Sean Penn as the world weary cop or PI.
To ‘get’ where The Steel Woods are coming from there’s a hefty clue in the songs they’ve chose to cover and what they do to them; Sabbath’s Changes is virtually unrecognisable as an intense Country Soul ballad, yet Townes Van Zandt’s The Catfish Song becomes a sultry Roadhouse Boogie, and then the Allman’s Whipping Post gets slowed down to become a dirty sounding love song and Tom Petty’s Southern Accents which closes the album is now an epic Hymn to the South that will take your breath away.
Another cover came very close to being my Favourite Song here. The last couple of times I’ve heard Merle’s Are The Good Times Really Over? it’s sounded a bit dated and tiresome; but these guys give it a fresh lick of paint and oddly enough make it sound very apt for the US of A in 2019.
But, there are two self-penned songs that take that Merle’s ‘message’ and run hell for leather to the touchdown zone ……. Rock That Says My Name is the first time I’ve encountered Southern Gothic in the Rock scene; but this epic tale could be about the singer himself or the country he so obviously loves. An exceptional piece of songwriting, make no mistake.
The other is the title track Old News, which slows things down and takes the guys into singer-songwriter territory; but this gives the listener the opportunity to stop dancing and actual listen to their prescient words like:
” You can hate all the others because they hate you
They hate the thought of you hating them too
We could scream it all out ’til we’re red, white, or blue
But I’d hate to think that thinking is old news, old news”

Or
“Let’s sing for Miss Liberty
And the crack in her bell
There’s a tear in Her eye
But her arm hasn’t fell
Yet the weight of her torch
Comes with blood that’s been spilled.”

Yep; Old News is by far my Favourite Song here and will undoubtedly become an anthem for their fans at every concert they ever play.
This is The Steel Woods second album and the band claim it to be nearer they sound they’ve always wanted to deliver…….. and they have done that quite admirably and with Class too; and you will think so too.

Released 18th January 2019
https://thesteelwoods.com/

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Dave Rosewood GRAVEL & GOLD

Dave Rosewood
Gravel And Gold
Self-Release

Country Gold From the Ozark Mountains via The Swamps of Sweden.

This is another one of those albums that arrives unannounced and pretty much unheralded (NO Press Release!); but a cursory listen to the first couple of tracks rushed it right up the ‘to do’ pile!
Dave Rosewood doesn’t appear to have a website and his Facebook account is ‘enigmatic’ to say the least; but at least I found out that this is his debut album and came about after leaving the Ozark Mountains to live in Sweden!
But…… there’s always the music!
It was opening track Seeds that initially caught my attention…… a down home Country song with one foot in Allmans territory and the other firmly rooted in Bakersfield, if I’m not mistaken. There’s some mighty sweet sweet guitar, a maudlin fiddle, a pedal-steel that will break your heart and a rhythm section of industrial strength behind Rosewoods authentic and worn Country voice…… what’s not to like?
It’s not apparent how autobiographical songs like the deep and mysterious Oh No More, or Blowin’ Round and Back When are; but that doesn’t matter a jot as Rosewood can write and deliver a song so rich in glorious detail and rustic charm you’d think he’d been typing away on Music Row for decades, before getting this good.
While there’s a helluva lot going on behind Rosewood, and it’s quite spectacular on Waitin’ To Be Free and the title track Gold & Gravel; what I like most of all is Rosewood’s astute storytelling and the way he delivers his words with poise, balance and authority via his leathery and worn voice.
In the modern way, there aren’t any obvious singles here; but two songs stand out for me, 20 Years is a magnificent tale of a man released from jail and ‘swearing not to return’……. trust me, it could and should turn up on an album by one of Nashville’s ‘hat acts’ who are on the look out for the best Johnny Cash song, that the Man in Black never wrote!
The other is the RMHQ Favourite song here; Someday. Apart from saying it’s timeless and stuffed full of harmonies, sublime guitar licks and a military drum and bass that all combine to make me think I could be listening to the Fabulous Burrito Brothers, or maybe The Byrds or is it Alabama or Poco? Nope….. it’s Dave Rosewood and his Swedish mates!
I’m no longer sure what Country Music actually is these days, as it appears to have splintered off into a thousand sub-genres; but this album is 100% Pure Damn Country in the spirit of Cash, Merle, Waylon and even the Allman Brothers!

Released November 20th 2018
https://www.facebook.com/dave.rosewood/

Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective THE EGGSHED SESSIONS ep

Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective
The Eggshed Sessions|
Ashwill Records/Bandcamp

Hey! Brothers and Sisters This Is  Southern and Eastern Country Rock.

It seems a lifetime ago since we first played Diff’rent Gravy from this motley crew non-stop in the RMHQ office, but it was only March…..where, oh where does the time go?
Well, just in time for Christmas they are releasing a new EP, but not in the traditional manner …. no sirree Bub, this release will obviously be as a download, of course but also as a Collector’s Version on a Memory Stick/Flash Card! Get them and their hipster ways.
Anyhoot; onto the music……..
Some rather natty and neat Twangy geetar from Dave Milligan open things on Let My Love Show; and once Jamie starts singing through a raggedy velvet encased vocal box the world suddenly seems a better place to live in. While not exactly ground breaking; what’s not to like about some straight up 4/4 Country Rock that lights up the room and my downcast mood as November morphs into December?
Next up is the delightful Summertime In Georgia which sounds uncannily like the Allman’s; or more to the point 4 or 5 of the Allman’s circa ’73 on a night off having a ball in a Bar somewhere on the wrong side of town, such is the clever way Williams and band combine. No kidding; I’m being serious!
Yet again things end all too briefly  with the smouldering Hideaway, which yet again conjures up memories of the Allman’s or is it Lynard Skynard, especially on the chorus…….. boy; would I like to see these cray kids play in my backyard at SummerTyne Festival!
Then, I need to nip back a song for my Favourite Track, and it’s one that made me chuckle when I first Heard the opening line;
“You can go from Hero to Zero
In one day
That’s the way it goes sometimes.” 
on an evening when it made 100% Total Sense; such is the wonderfully astute Zero To Hero (Hero to Zero). Again it revolves around some sublime, almost Latino guitar work, but this is very much a song that begs to be listened to on its own merits; and I bet there’s not a single person that hears it won’t think it’s been them at some time in their very own life.
This is as good as Southern Rock gets in my opinion; well…… ‘Southern’ as in they hail from the Chelmsford Delta in rural Essex! 

Released October 30th 2018 
http://www.jwroots.co.uk/
 https://jwrc.bandcamp.com/album/the-eggshed-sessions-ep



  

Shawn Mullins SOUL’S CORE REVIVAL

Shawn Mullins

SOUL’S CORE (Revival)

Soul Carnival Records

A Platinum Seller Gets Two Fabulous New Leases of Life.

SOUL’S CORE REVIVAL(Electric)

The first time I ever encountered the music of Shawn Mullins was way back in 2011 when I reviewed his LIGHT ME UP album for Maverick magazine; which went on to make it’s way into my Top 10 that year. I vaguely remember being inundated with a couple of letters pointing me to his prestigious back catalogue and, in particular this, his fourth and subsequently platinum selling album from 1998; and here I am 20 years later listening to it in two shiny new formats.

To celebrate that Anniversary Mullins has taken his long standing touring band into the studio and re-recorded everything with a razor sharp, contemporary edge to each song and also stripping everything back to the bones and sinew with acoustic versions of each song too.

A brave move? Most certainly; but one worth taking after singing these songs most nights for those twenty years and each one subsequently growing and developing in their own individual direction.

Without knowing any of the original versions; I’m obviously coming to SOUL’S CORE with an open mind; and just as I found with Light Me Up, opening track here Anchored In You is the very essence of West Coast Country Rock at it’s finest yet with a contemporary and timeless feel to it, as is the delightful Lullaby which follows. A slow and slightly slurred ‘talking Blues’ as it were, with Mullins singing/talking about the sad-eyed girl from the Hollywood Hills that hung out with Dennis Hopper, Bob Segar and even Sonny & Cher; but who feels more at home in a dive bar on Fairfax.

This song, plus Soul Child, the beautiful and brittle You Mean Everything To Me and Ballad of Billy Jo McKay all prove to be ‘ahead of their time’ in the way they must have been billed as Country Rock in 1998 but today are what we know to be Americana at its rawest with Mullins acute observations set to some amazing melodies and chord structures are as fresh as a summer breeze.

While I’ve sat in awe each time I’ve played this album now; two songs in particular stand out; Mullin’s cool revisiting of Kristofferson’s old chestnut Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down somehow takes on a whole new believable resonance as an organ filters in and out of the mix; and then there’s a song called Shimmer which closes the disc, a haunting Southern Groove about an all-encompassing love that stopped me right in my tracks and even made me turn the dial up to 8 so I could hear the story in more detail; and it was well worth it.

SOUL’S CORE REVIVAL(Acoustic)

With the benefit of hindsight; I’m pleased I played the other album first and for a few days, before picking up the Acoustic version; as here Shawn sits down with just his guitar, a microphone and the story behind each song which is a rather beautiful thing indeed.

Again, Anchored In You is still breathtaking and the story that follows, introducing Lullaby is almost tear inducing as he explains how it came from listening to Joni’s Blue album and Mullins trying to work out her tunings (a very muso thing, but fascinating none the less). There’s also a moment or two when he strains his rather distinctive voice to hit some high notes that he sounds like someone else; and I’m damned if I can think who!

It’s a personal thing, but both Mrs Magpie love it when songwriters introduce their songs with the stories behind them; and Shawn Mullins proves to be quite the raconteur even though he doesn’t appear to have an audience bar the production crew.

On this album a couple of different songs shine in the stripped back format, most notably Twin Rocks, Oregon and Patrick’s Song which both must have been groundbreaking back in ’98.

One track I couldn’t get my head around, Tannin’ Bed Song now makes absolute sense as a Folk Song; but nothing like anything Dylan was doing back in those heady days.

Then of course the songs I like in the Electric stylee, are still beautiful done acoustically with both the story and song Ballad of Billy Jo McKay bringing tears to my eyes.

Without spoiling anything; the story behind The Gulf of Mexico really showcases the imagination that a great songwriter has; and in my humble opinion the acoustic format makes this song staggeringly beautiful, as he lives every word through his warm and raspy voice.

I doubt I’ve ever heard a bad version of Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down; and this version is as good as most, but hearing Mullins chuckle as he remembers his Dad’s eclectic record collection and this song especially, warmed my heart more than the song did.

Shimmer (plus it’s heart breaking and life affirming back story), is yet again a contender for the title of RMHQ Favourite Track but I’m going for You Mean Everything To Me, which while ‘good’ on the other album; but now coupled to its very short story is truly stunning as Mullins intricately combines Folk, Country and even Poetry on a very intense four and a half minutes, that he claims to be inspired by listening to Townes Van Zandt…….. which very few did 20 years ago.

I neither know nor care what Mullin’s huge fan base will make of this release; I guess a few will be upset as he’s ‘messing with perfection’ but for me recording these 13 powerful songs in two very different, yet complimentary styles isn’t just brave but has the mark of genius too!

Released November 16th 2018

http://shawnmullins.com/

JAWBONE Jawbone

jawbone

JAWBONE
Jawbone
Self-Release

Classic Rock Meets Americana in a Sweaty Club.

While not quite a Supergroup; the four constituent parts of London based band Jawbone most certainly have very enviable CV’s after playing alongside Rock Royalty like Robert Plant, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton and Tom Jones to name but four over the years.
With that in mind it was the name Marcus Bonafanti that jumped out for me, even though I don’t actually any of his solo albums…..I know he’s a quality guitarist with a capital Q!
So; I was taken aback by the almost laid back Country Rock and Americana feel to opening song Leave No Traces, which just goes to show you should never pre-judge these things.
Still reeling I was, and still am impressed by the harmonies Bonafanti and keyboardist Paddy Milner create in between taking alternate lines on haunting and clever song about ‘being lost’ in both life and love……which is something many of us can associate with.
This is one of those albums that work in many settings; but for me having it on the car stereo was when it really and truly came to life.
While Jawbone are probably ‘Rockers’ at heart; songs like the cleverly constructed and deeply personal Family Man, Rolling on the Underground and Sit Around The Table show a mellower and occasionally more playful side than full on Blues Rock would ever allow.
I’m sure when they play live many of these songs will take on a whole new life; as indicated by the neatly restrained powerhouse Big Old Smoke and possibly even the rolling and smouldering Get What You Deserve….. but I could be wrong of course.
To some greater or lesser degree the complex arrangements and the way they revolve around Milner on the piano with Bonafanti playing in the shadows, means that Bet On Yesterday and the song that closes events The Years Used To Mean So Much owe a helluva lot to the master-works of Elton John; and that is meant to be a huge compliment.
There are plenty of songs here that are perfect for the radio; but one in particular has all the hallmarks of being a crossover hit, making the wonderful Rock Ballad When Your Gun Is Loaded easily my favourite song here; especially the chorus,
‘When your gun is loaded
Don’t point it at your feet
I never make the same mistakes
I make new ones every day’

Come on; who among us doesn’t think that applies to them? I certainly think it could be about me, and me alone.
There’s a lot going on here, with the intensity of someone U2 in their early days sitting alongside the harmonies of CSN&Y, while, honestly some of the sweeping flourishes could be Queen without the pomposity and bizarrely there are also tiny echoes of Little Feet and the Band too at times.
This have been an amazing journey of discovery and in Marcus Bonafanti and Paddy Milner Jawbone have two very diverse yet complimentary singers; and each of the four bring an individual set of musical skills that add together to create an extraordinary debut album, that has the potential to lay the groundwork for a very special next few years.

Released 9th November 2018
https://www.jawboneband.com/

JP Harris DOGS BARK AT NOTHING

jp harris 01

JP Harris
DOGS BARK AT NOTHING
Free Dirt Records

 Authentic Bar-Room Country For a Cold Autumn Night.

Apologies to everyone concerned, as this review is now over four weeks late…… not because I didn’t like the album; far from it….but I’d somehow neglected to include it on my October spreadsheet!
Basically this was a regular travelling companion in the car during September; then gradually faded away until Saturday when opening track JP’s Florida Blues #1 blasted out of the speakers via my I-Phone and I was transported back to the hot and sultry days of Summer (pretending I was driving across the Florida/Georgia line rather than through industrial Tyne and Wear!).
Man…. Is this song a belter; echoes of classic Chuck Berry, Creedence and Bob Seger whizz through your brain as JP and the guys relive their younger days touring the back road dives of their collective youth in a way that actually makes it sound sexy and romantic!
The mood slows down to a more melodic pace for Lady In The Spotlight, and Harris’s world weary and worn down voice articulately tells a story that could perhaps have been included in A Star is Born to describe the way the Lady GaGa character was groomed by her sleazy manager.
While it’s becoming a staple in Country Music these days; JP really does capture the spirit of a man who has been far too dependent on the demon alcohol in the almost chirpy Why I Quit Drinking, finding solace in the minutiae of finally remembering what he did and where he did it the previous night.
I’ve heard a few dull songs on the subject; but JP’s song is very listenable and never preachy.
The album balance is fun, with the punchy Hard Road breathing fresh life into proceedings in the middle then ending with the rip-roaring Country Rocker Jimmy’s Dead and Gone; but in-between Harris explores the mellower and introspective edgy side of Country Music with wily and knowing songs like Long Ways Back and the heart-breaking Runaway which features Miss Kristina Murray on ghostly harmonies and Leroy Powell making his pedal-steel sound like tears stinging a cheek.
Even without the actual song being as good as it is, the title of the album Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing is as good a Country album title as I’ve ever heard; and Harris’s sharply observed and gut wrenching words really do it justice.
There’s a second drinking song here; and in my humble opinion I Only Drink Alone nicely juxtaposes Why I Quit Drinking, as it takes all the fun out of getting drunk as Harris alongside Mark Sloan on the most melancholy piano you will hear all year, take us deep into George Jones territory and don’t let us leave until the tears are dry; and for that reason it takes the prize of RMHQ Favourite Track with ease.
When I watch the CMA’S or even highlights from C2C I’m often confused as to what constitutes Country Music anymore; and perhaps ‘everything’ is Country Music these days; but for me JP Harris embodies what I want from it; great well written and authentic songs that are sung by a man who has lived every word (which is what he sounds like!) and a Bigsby on his guitar coupled to a scorching pedal-steel don’t go amiss either!

Released October 5th 2018.
https://www.ilovehonkytonk.com/

 

 

Leland Sundries If You’re Gonna Drive, I’m Gonna Drink (SINGLE)

leland v

Leland Sundries
If You’re Gonna Drive, I’m Gonna Drink (SINGLE)
Self-Release

Remember when you would be listening to the radio and something would come on that would make you go WOW, then desperately try to hear the band’s name so you could spend your pocket money on that 45RPM single on Saturday?
That’s how I felt when I played this (download) single yesterday.
OK, it’s not ‘pushing any boundaries’ and the theme is pretty much what 35% of all Country songs is based around; but this single from New Yawk’s LELAND SUNDRIES just immediately captured my attention with it’s droll lyrics and intentionally sloppy arrangement….. and the B-Side is rather tasty too; what’s not to like?

According to Nick, from the band who sent it….
“It’s 1/3 true (I used to drink a lot), 1/3 overheard, and 1/3 made up. The B-side is “Lone Prairie,” a punk version of a traditional cowboy song that I first heard from the Down Hill Strugglers, a Brooklyn string band, at the Brooklyn Folk Fest. We asked ourselves what the Replacements would do with it and tried to do that.”

 

Released 19th October 2018

http://lelandsundries.com/

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit LIVE at the RYMAN

jason isbell xx

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
LIVE at the RYMAN
Southeastern Records

The Crown Prince of Alt. Country in All His Lucid Glory.

It’s kinda funny how Jason Isbell became an ‘Overnight Success’ after God knows how many years he has been hawking his act around the bars, clubs and concert halls around the world to ever increasing, but never huge crowds of appreciative Americana fans. But, to me and you he’s been a bonafide Star ever since his early Rock n Roll days in Drive By Truckers and even more so since he went solo and redefined what Alt. Country could actually be, but it took him winning TWO Grammy Awards earlier this year, and more recently getting one of his songs included in the A Star is Born movie; primarily to make Bradley Cooper appear ‘authentic enough’ for the rest of the world to catch on.
So with a whole new fan base to sate; Jason and those cool cats at Southeastern Records have culled 13 tracks from last year’s six Sold Out nights at the Ryman to showcase his talents where they shine brightest……in concert!
Although he has more ‘famous and popular songs’ I can’t think of a better song of his than Hope The High Road to open this album. It rocks like rowing boat in a storm, and Isbell’s way with words is as articulate as a Hemingway novel; and don’t get me started on those guitar solos!
This is followed by a spectacular version of 24 Frames and White Man’s World which was scarily prophetic when it first appeared on Nashville Sound but now; a year later it’s sadly even more pertinent; and Amanda’s fiddle playing often out rocks the guitars; and boy do they sizzle!
Although this isn’t a ‘live from the soundboard recording’ there’s certainly enough intensity and excitement in Last Of My Kind and Flagship to make new fans want…. No ‘need’ to check his website to find out when Jason & The 400 Unit are coming to town.
His songwriting has always been exemplary in my book; but when you hear the crystal clear production coupled to Isbell’s fierce approach on Super 8 and Cumberland Gap, you just know that those Two Grammys are only going to be the start of a big collection of shiny trophies.
Finding a Favourite Track here hasn’t been easy, as each and every song has its own merits especially the mesmerising Elephant, which is one of the most heart-breakingly clever and beautiful songs I’ve ever, ever heard and I’m going to go against the grain and pass over the Grammy Winning We Must Be Vampires; which is still every bit as brilliant as it was on the original album but instead I’m choosing the epic The Life You Choose, which I’ve grown to love over the last three years; and again Isbell somehow manages to wring even more passion and imagery out of it in this format than I could ever have dared hope.
If I have a complaint about LIVE AT THE RYMAN, it’s that some truly amazing songs from the first three albums are missing; presumably because of licensing issues, but they are missing none the less; but…. Hey ho…….. what is here more than makes up for that and showcases a truly amazing talent.

Released October 19th 2019
http://www.jasonisbell.com/

 

The Weight Band WORLD GONE MAD

the weight band

The Weight Band
WORLD GONE MAD
Self-Release/CRS

No Stage Fright From These Big Pink Veterans.

Normally I have a pathologic hatred of looky-likey bands; so even though the Press Release was a bit vague I still approached this release with appropriate caution.
But (*Spoiler Alert) the end result is just fine and dandy; as The Weight Band, who are made up of musicians from the Band’s latter touring version pay homage to the forefathers of Americana AND Alt. Country in the finest way without resorting to lazy cover versions of the Hits; but carefully selecting a couple of rarities and a Jerry Garcia cover to compliment 8 of their own songs; which sound pretty damn authentic.
Obviously for fiscal reasons The Weight Band sound uncannily like The Band; and the title track World Gone Mad sounds just perfect in that context; blending a little bit of old-school hippy wisdom with 21st Century cynicism; which is why the originals music still stands tall today.
Once I’d put my original reservations to one side I quickly fell in love with the raunchy You’re Never Too Old to Rock and Roll, which will be included on the mythical RMHQ Soundtrack album.
This is immediately followed by Big Legged Sadie (from Saskatoon) which genuinely sounds like the Band in all their finery having a ball on a cheeky love song.
I’m sorry if I keep ‘comparing and contrasting’ but it’s difficult not too, as we have three singers here who all sound very similar to Levon, Robbie and Garth; and their instrumentation and playing is as razor sharp as you’d expect too.
With that in mind; I’ve sort of treat this album as ‘the album the Band never made’ and in that context Every Step of The Way and Fire in The Hole work perfectly well; and the beautiful I Wish You Were Here Tonight sounds even better and could easily have been an out take from Cahoots.
But; then again Heat of the Moment and Bob Dylan’s 1998 Day of the Locusts, while fitting the format perfectly well somehow manage to take the music in a whole new. exciting direction.
There is also one song here that straddles both of those formats and that’s the blue collar bodacious Country rocker, Common Man which is easily my favourite song here and sets the course for whatever The Weight Band choose to release next.
As they are first and foremost a touring band; the album closes with a Live track The Remedy, which truly showcases what this band are all about and manages to whet my appetite for any future UK Tour.

Released 14th September 2018
http://theweightband.com/

Anton & The Colts NO END OF THE LINE

anton and the colts b.jpg

Anton & The Colts
NO END OF THE LINE
Self-Release

Country Rock Deluxe From The Clydeside Delta.

As I said a couple of weeks ago; it’s becoming very popular for one review on RMHQ to beget another from an artiste who read the original words and thought “I bet my album would fit in there too.”
Which brings us to a Scottish Americana act called Anton & The Colts and their debut album, which really, really does fit into our crazy little world like a hand in a glove.
You all know by now I judge everything by the strength of the opening track; and here the muscular Alright captured my attention within seconds. Anton’s breathy and gravelly voice alongside a white hot band make compelling listening; and your investment pays off handsomely with a very well constructed Americana/Country song; that belies it’s Scottish roots.
For some reason; and I hope I’m wrong I can’t help imagining the band wearing faded flared jeans and Converse Allstars as their luscious long hair flops across their faces when I hear the likes of Blues to Bed and Rock and a Hard Place; as they are both Country Rock Deluxe, making me hark back to the time I discovered bands like The Burritos and Poco decades ago.
Several of my friends who take their music far too seriously are going to miss out here; simply because Anton & The Colts don’t come from Tulsa or Fresno; but trust me this album is 100% Americana with Weekend Millionaire and Gypsy Heart being the type of sharply observed imagery that writers in East Nashville (and South London!) would give their Apple Mac to release.
To some degree what I like best here is the way this band blend imaginative light and shade throughout, reflecting real life and real people in The Summer That Could Never Be Outdone and the darkly delightful From My Fear too.
My choice of Favourite Track won’t please everyone; as to the uninitiated it will just sound gloomy; but it’s a song that hit me like a punch to the heart the first time I heard it; and I have subsequently wallowed in the richly observed tale of personal depression that is My Black Dog and Me for many days and nights now.
A very brave song to write and even braver to put music too and release out into the wild; but an articulate tale that sums up this horrible ‘feeling’ one gets as well as any one else I can think of.
There really is a lot to like; and be impressed with here and it’s obvious that Anton & The Colts have ‘paid their dues’ for many years before going into the studio; and the result is pretty damn exciting and deserves to be heard by an appreciative audience South, East and West of Hadrian’s Wall!

Released 7th September 2018

https://www.facebook.com/antonandthecolts/