Them Dirty Dimes (from the album In Gold We Trust available on Dox Records)
The musical calendar for both Gijs DeGroot and Johan Stolk ended around the time that World War II began covering the globe. Finding common ground, the pair set up a musical tent in The Netherlands as Them Dirty Dimes, creating up a sonic prewar border for their sound, Them Dirty Dimes found a vast selection of music to back the tracks on their recent release, In Gold We Trust. The title track begins the song cycle for In Gold We Trust, a welcome whispered, an invitation offered, and a dance band spreading its joy. Back-alley Jazz, a melting pot of horns, rhythm, plucks and strums, Them Dirty Dimes shuffle on by choosing dancing over loving in “Bald and Alone”, bounce on an effervescent groove to promote homemade hooch for “Jake-Walk Shuffle”, and circle the world on a shuffle with “Baby in Babylon”.
The piano takes the lead heading into “The Day I Met Capone (The Fats Waller Song)”, the rhythm picking up as a Saturday night at the Sherman gets a little rowdy while “Keep Diggin’” shakes and shudders on a marching beat. Them Dirty Dimes pack the dance floor with In Gold We Trust, offering some tender moments in mood and groove when relationships woes get toasted with “From Black to Blue”, sway to late-night Jazz turning Blue for “Bed & The Bottle Blues”, and lazily strum a goodbye to the album with “Passing By”.
Listen and buy the music of Them Dirty Dimes from AMAZON
Please visit the Them Dirty Dimes website for more information
<iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/1U4ejbOKk7pzb3uyUASzn5" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe>
Strawbs (from the album Settlement available on Esoteric Records) (by Chris Wheatley)
For over fifty years now, English Folk Rock band Strawbs (sometimes known as The Strawbs) have been producing provocative, eclectic music of high class and ambitions. Chart success with their enduring single “Part of the Union” and early collaborations with Sandy Denny, may have seen their high-water-mark in terms of commercial success but Strawbs were never a band to sacrifice their sound at the altar of sales-figures. Long-time leader Dave Cousins clearly still has plenty to say, both lyrically and musically. On Settlement, Cousins is joined by regular members Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, Dave Bainbridge, and Tony Fernandez, with guests John Ford, Cathryn Craig, and Schalk Joubert. Prevented from recording in the usual manner, Settlement has been put together by the musician's working remotely from one another, in home studios, with the project coordinated by Blue Weaver from his studio in Germany. Says Weaver ‘Strawbs dusted off their instruments and set up the necessary technology to make it happen - ranging from state-of-the-art recording equipment to an ironing board!”.
It's fair to say that every Strawbs record is an adventure. This particular one begins with the title-track. Slip-sliding, loose-limbed, guitar jangles and rolls in an uneasy fashion. ‘There comes a time, where every settlement is due’ sings Cousins in his unmistakable, potent, rough-edged voice. Strings edge in, washes of synth, and then the track explodes with thudding drums and electric guitar; a powerful, mercurial sound. Those jangling guitars skitter nervously around the song's edges. ‘no change of mind, whatever is will be’. This is Strawbs at their heaviest, though classic Strawbs it is, through and through. As ever, they inject enough invention and sophistication to prevent the music from ever sliding into the obvious.
“Strange Times” opens with ringing, ornate acoustic guitar over deep bass rumblings. Subtle strings propel the song gently, with start-stop dynamics and swelling synths. With Strawbs, you will always find drama (some might say melodrama), but the emotion is always earnest. There is no denying that these are talented musicians who are still passionate about their craft. “Each Manner of Man” Folk-roots in their hearts. Lyrically, the universal, human-centred experience is to the forefront.
On “The Visit” Strawbs tease out an old-time, almost Bluegrass feel with chiming guitar and a rolling arrangement. It's a track which builds organically, as with all of this band's music. Vocal harmonies and more of that rolling, finger-picked guitar carry the chorus. Again, Strawbs add novel elements and small, unexpected twists which reach beyond the Folk-world. For an album recorded piece-meal, the tightness and togetherness is remarkable. “Flying Free” arises from a hypnotic, pulsing riff, wheeling around and around in a deft dance of strings. Hand-percussion lends the track a shuffling, dancing feel. This is a showcase for the group's admirable instrumental playing, as the disparate strands weave and circle to great effect.
The somewhat melancholy “Quicksilver Days” utilizes bittersweet piano runs and minor chords to create a pensive ballad full of portent. “We Are Everyone”, by contrast, whips up the storm of far-reaching emotion which Strawbs have always delighted in, rising and falling on waves of electric guitar. Closer “Chorale” ends on a jauntier note, with sliding synth, burbling electronics, and driving acoustic guitar. Full of bright notes and hopeful overtones, the band, as always, end on a high. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of Strawbs from AMAZON
Please visit the Strawbs website for more information
Blackmore’s Night (from the album Nature’s Light available on earMUSIC) (by Chris Wheatley)
English-American Folk Rock band Blackmore's Night are into their third decade of recording, and onto their eleventh studio album, in the form of Nature's Light. It's a project which may have seemed an unlikely venture but has certainly proved it's longevity, attracting fans not only from founding member Ritchie Blackmore's days as guitarist with rock group Deep Purple but from across the musical spectrum. Vocalist, lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist Candice Night makes up the other half of Blackmore's Night, with a rotating line-up of additional musicians. It's a slick outfit, incorporating a mannered, almost baroque feel with mysticism, Eastern instrumentation, strong elements of traditional English Folk and classic Rock. These disparate sounds are wrapped up in a smoothly produced, ethereal-sounding package which is quite compelling.
Nature's Light sticks to this winning formula. Opener “Once Upon a December” dips, soars and jangles, with flutes, acoustic guitar, and shimmering bells. The track has a jaunty, sea-shanty feel, over which Night's voice slips and slides. It's a lovely voice, to be sure, Folk at its core, with a glossy sheen. Candice Night's versatile, flowing, delivery and easy power match the music to a tee. Genre-wise, Blackmore's Night are hard to pin down, which perhaps perversely accounts for their success. There's nothing out there quite like it; easy-to-digest, quirky, almost baroque, with Prog Rock overtones and detailed arrangements. Indeed, if Deep Purple had been around in medieval times, they might have sounded something like this.
“Feather in the Wind” gallops along at ferocious pace, propelled by rattling drums, racing hand-percussion, and a steady kick-drum beat. Pipes leap in and out, deep bass thuds, and violin throws out a frenzied coda. There's plenty of time, though, for some nice instrumental breaks, with ghostly, harmonized vocals. As always, Night's voice stands at the centre of the whirlwind. ‘Everyone I knew, they were all feathers in the wind’ she sings, and it's easy to imagine said feathers cast to the four corners of the globe before this measured, cultured assault.
“The Twisted Oak” slows things down a little. It's a lilting, charming piece, with soft bells, staccato strings, finger-picked electric guitar and harpsichord embellishments. Throughout this track, and the album, the assembled players add an incredible level of detail. These are well-thought-out, impressive compositions which leave few empty spaces. Whether or not this style and approach appeals, you can't help but admire the colour, depth, and musicianship on display. “Der Letzte Musketier” starts with stately pipe-organ (though here played in a decidedly modern fashion) before transforming into a swaggering Blues Rock number. It's possibly the most contemporary-sounding track on the album, and it does feel a little out-of-place, at least at first. Then again, as with the album as a whole, this is music so obviously made with good feelings and good intent, that it seems churlish to criticize a little variety. A swirling chorus, with more of those emotive, multi-tracked vocals and plenty of Blackmore's eminently enjoyable guitar make this another winner.
Folk purists may shrug off Blackmore's Night as too much of a commercial compromise, but that would be a shame. Blackmore and Night clearly have a deep love for Roots music. They also have talent aplenty. There's room and reason for an album or two from this band in any collection. Fans of Classic Rock ought to love it. The rest of us should appreciate Nature's Light for its musicianship and sense of adventurous fun. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of Blackmore’s Night from AMAZON
Please visit the Blackmore’s Night website for more information
The Rose Petals (from the album American Grenadine available on Envoy Records) (by Bryant Liggett)
The Rose Petals have fired up a bit of the way back machine. Although very 2021 modern, the Los Angeles quartet aren’t afraid to dial 35 years or so back, just long enough to remind listeners that the loose, new wave, jangly, whispered brand of Rock’n’Roll out of an 80’s Athens, Georgia, or the electro-Folk that was a part of the Los Angeles’ Paisley Underground, left a huge brand on Indie music. A stamp bold enough to have a lasting impression on a band such as The Rose Petals, whose debut American Grenadine touches on Roots, jangle, and electric Folk, giving a big salute to the Indie music scenes in the United States and England during the Reagan administration.
Peter Donovan and Elijah Ocean share songwriting and harmonizing duties, hitting heavy those combined vocals for the jangle-dosed opener “Welcome to the Big Top” as they clock into singer/songwriter mode trading lyrics in “The Gentleman Farmer.” Cuts like “My Dearest Friend” and “The Man Who Sold the Hats” both have a straightforward Country Rock drive while “Lemonade Lucy”, with its meandering guitar and the t-shirt ready lyric of ‘there’s no bad time for good news’ is ripe and ready for a festival jam. American Grenadine is a package of 21st century Rock’n’Roll with the right amounts of Roots and jangle. Those add-on’s give a heavy and appreciative nod to their obvious influences yet sounding as fresh as next week. (by Bryant Liggett)
Listen and buy the music of The Rose Petals from AMAZON
Please visit The Rose Petals website for more information
Bow Thayer (from the album The Zen of Snug available as a self-release)
How to celebrate Earth Day? Musically, no better answer than reviewing Bow Thayer and his recent release The Zen of Snug for the week including Earth Day, April 22, 2021. Bow’s beliefs are in the songs though how his music best suits a celebration of the earth is in the feel if not directly in the verse. Opening track “Earthling” is a ringer, the groove of the tune a heartbeat, Bow Thayer spitting out support for his fellow humans, the tale inspiring and a call to arms for action. Bow Thayer’s banjo leads the way into “Elinoire” and its rolling Folk Rock sway as the beat bangs a path across “A Balm in Las Vegas”, a wiggling riff snakes over “Sins of Man”, and a sturdy rhythm becomes the foundation for “This Thing Called God”. The use of rhythm is an important feature for any album. On The Zen of Snug, the beat is the bloodstream, at times wandering (“Your Are Not Unknown”), marching (“Mr. Timber Rattler”), hitting like a triphammer (“A Small Eternity”), and driven by strums (“Back to the Source”). Through its many incarnations the groove is ever-ready to guide the tracks.
Bow Thayer is a New England treasure, as a band member for years in Boston (Elbow, The Benders), working with Levon Helm and making seven appearances at Levon’s Barn Dance, and creating the Tweed River Music Festival. Electrifying and customizing, Bow Thayer repurposed and reimagined his instruments, crediting Mark Sandman (Morphine) for his experimentations in the creation of customized gear. One of Bow’s instruments, a mix of acoustic guitar, resonator guitar, and banjo, Bojotar, went in manufacturing through Eastwood Guitars in 2014. Bow Thayer nods in tribute to fellow Boston band Morphine in the indominable groove and fat saxophone blasts of “Welcome to the Panic Room” as The Zen of Snug uses a kaleidoscope of revolving soundscapes to back “Race to Lose”.
Listen and buy the music of Bow Thayer from AMAZON
For more information, head to the Bow Thayer website
Jesse Aycock (from the album Jesse Aycock available on Horton Records) (by Bryant Liggett)
Multi-instrumentalist Jesse Aycock’s self-titled recent release lives somewhere between Indie Rock and American Roots music. You can also throw in a dash of garage, a dollop of psychedelia, and a dose of the laidback Folk Rock. Jesse Aycock is an easy and mellow groove of a record, a fitting release from the Oklahoma musician who fans may know from the jam band, singer-songwriter heavy Hard-Working Americans. Album opener, “Shed the Light”, carries a Cheap Trick or Big Star vibe, a blast of power pop with a 70’s era feel. That cut, along with hard jangle of “High Hopes”, and the electro-Folk of “Past Life”, are the few up-tempo tunes, as Jesse Aycock favors the soulful, slower pace; it’s a groove that works.
Jesse Aycock isn’t without a melancholic mood, dropping lines like ‘it’s so easy to get caught up in yesterday’s old shoes’ from “Wreck Like You” or asking ‘what is left for us, when settled like the dust’ from “Passing Days”, proving he’s not afraid to exercise some of his own singer-songwriter chops as he comes out from behind the role of go-to multi-instrumentalist. The road cut “Roll South” is a stand-out star, a Country-tinged cowpoke cut that’s ambient and dreamy when Jesse Aycock corners the market on the Country-Roots-Lounge genre. The album closer in “Woodland Park” has a low-key, blow-off-work and skip school with your best pal vibe. Jesse Aycock is bringing the best of two worlds; a singer-songwriter with instrumental chops, dropping what is a musically thick record with a wonderful stoner groove. (by Bryant Liggett)
Listen and buy the music of Jesse Aycock from AMAZON
Please visit the Jesse Aycock website for more information
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers (from the album New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers, Vol. 2 available on Stony Plains Records)
Young guns sat down with Blues legends in 2007, brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson along with fellow southern song style professor Jimbo Mathus and Blues greats, Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and late-Memphis pianoman, Jim Dickinson. The plan was to have a guitar jam, the result is Volume 2 in the series of recordings the band gathered from their sessions. The tapes sat on shelves for twelve years, Volume One released in fall of 2020 with the current release, New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers, Volume Two following for 2021. Musically, the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers wander, swaying to Jimmy Reed’s “Can’t Stand to See You Go” and shouting out over front porch Folk Blues in Deacon Jones’ “If Blues Was Money” as put border Blues into the Tex Mex bounce of Doug Sahm’s (Sir Douglas Quintet) “She’s About a Mover”.
Jimbo Mathus sashays down to 4th Street looking for a good meal and maybe something to cook up in his song “Greens and Ham” while the Blues gets ragged and real as Jimbo turns on his tune “Searchlight”. Charlie Musselwhite opens the album on harmonica blasts, sliding into the Blues groove of album opener, Charlie’s tune “Blues for Yesterday” while his song “Black Water” slowly courses on thick rolling waves of rhythms. Jim Dickinson was renowned for his production work (Big Star, The Replacements, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Willy DeVille, Mojo Nixon, Toots & The Maytals) and backing as a musician (Ry Cooder, The Rolling Stones, Flamin’ Groovies, The Cramps) as well as fathering fellow band members, Luther and Cody (North Mississippi All Stars). On New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers, Volume 2, his piano and voice settle in to the band, taking the lead on the Charlie Mingus cut “Oh Lord, Don’t Let Them Drop That Atom Bomb on Me”, strutting on Junior Wells’ “Messin’ with the Kid”, and closing out the album as he exits on a slow drag of the Mississippi Sheiks’ “Blues is a Mighty Bad Feeling”.
Listen and buy the music of New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers from AMAZON
Please visit the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers website for more information
Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi (from the album They’re Calling Me Home available on Nonesuch Records) (by Chris Wheatley)
Springtime brings a major release in the Folk world in the form of They're Calling Me Home, the new album by Grammy-Award-winning singer, fiddler and banjo-player Rhiannon Giddens, in collaboration with Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. The 'Folk' and musical credentials of these two are impressive. Giddens, of course, performed with another Grammy-Award-winning outfit, the Roots-revival band Carolina Chocolate Drops. It is revelatory to see African-American musicians playing string-band music, a phenomenon once commonplace which has largely been air-brushed from history. The banjo, it should be noted, is fundamentally an African instrument. For his part, Francesco Turrisi is a true scholar of traditional music from across the world. This is their second collaborative album, following 2019's There Is No Other.
After fiery quiet of the album opener title track, “Avalon” is a beautiful launching point for They’re Calling me Home. We are whirled into a musical landscape of ringing, circling banjo, soft, striking strings, and hand percussion. There are clear elements of West African music here in the polyrhythmic patterns and subtly shifting, hypnotic melodies. This is cultured, cerebral songwriting and composition. Rhiannon Giddens' words float, honeyed and yet powerful, over a rising and falling soundscape. As with this album as a whole, the unexpected, novel and highly-inventive arrangements lift this song far above your standard fare. The results are sophisticated and demanding of your engagement but never do they sound pretentious or unnatural. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Waterbound” sparkles like polished stones beneath a clear, flowing stream. The simple, mantra-like lyrics, almost a childlike sing-song, ease themselves into your heart on a cloud of gently-picked banjo, acoustic guitar, strings, and kicking, shuffling percussion. This is a song which stretches back to the ancient past but is at once familiar and affecting. As ever with Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, it is remarkable how this music, firmly entrenched in the traditional, is made to sound entirely fresh and exciting, this without any modern instrumentation or studio wizardry.
Turn-of-the-century Gospel favourite “I Shall Not Be Moved” shimmers and shines. Giddens and Turrisi inject a restrained, noble strength into their version, which is achingly beautiful. Soft breezes of accordion and bright, plucked strings, together with Rhiannon Giddens' melodic, mercurial banjo lift the song into hazy blue skies, where the sun warms your bones. A companion-piece of sorts, “Amazing Grace”, is treated to a startling, emotive, make-over. Giddens chooses to hum the opening bars, which makes for a sublime and incredibly expressive sound. Joined by the striking notes of bagpipes, Rhiannon Giddens voice circles around propulsive hand-drums, merging with the pipes themselves to create an unforgettable musical experience.
“Bully for You” rolls gently, with lilting mouth-pipes; a Gaelic-sounding instrumental, soft and inviting. As always, however, Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi add enough nuance and originality to hook the ear as well as the soul. Closer “O Death” on which Rhiannon Giddens sings over those same echoing, thudding hand-drums, with hummed vocal harmonies, further showcases her vocal talents. Her voice is cultured and smooth, with an edge harking back to the famous Blues-shouters of old. She is also more than capable of delivering a classical feel, reminiscent of English choral music. Witness the extraordinary “When I Was in My Prime” for proof. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi from AMAZON
Please visit the Rhiannon Giddens, Francesco Turrisi websites for more information
Art of Time Ensemble (from the album Ain't Got Long available on Art of Time Recordings) (by Chris Wheatley)
Something a little special to brighten up your Spring here. It's fair to say that, when it comes to Classical outfits covering Popular music, fans from both sides approach with caution. The results, when they work, can be brilliant (see Trevor Horn's ‘Trevor Horn Reimagines the Eighties’). Caution, however, is warranted. Such projects can all too easily come off as condescending, and all too often leave the resultant songs stranded deep in no-man's land, stripped of the spirit which inhabited the originals and devoid of the sublime feelings aroused by the best Chamber Music. I can assure you that Canada's celebrated Art of Time Ensemble are far too earnest to fall into that trap.
If the worth of an album can be told by the talents of its contributors, then Ain't Got Long fully measures up. The gifted musicians who make up the Art of Time Ensemble, led by pianist Andrew Burashko, with arrangements by Jonathan Goldsmith, are joined here by an impressive cast of guest singers comprising of Madeleine Peyroux, Gregory Hoskins, Jessica Mitchell and Sarah Slean. The impetus behind the album was a desire to reinterpret a wide variety of songs which ‘qualify as standards in anyone’s 21st-century appreciation of music’. With entries ranging from Robert Johnson to Radiohead, it's a bold ambition indeed.
Goldsmith's own “Ain't Got Long” opens the show, a track which features vocal samples culled from ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax's celebrated Prison Songs collection. Building from said sample, the piece coalesces into a hypnotic, mantra-like meditation, full of ominous overtones, sparse and haunting. That cloud soon opens up, with double-time piano contrasting intriguingly against slow strings. It's deceptively simple and precise, yet the arrangement is impressively sophisticated and emotional. Atmospheric, certainly, but there's plenty going on here to catch the ear. None of its eight-minute run-time feels wasted.
Archetypal Bluesman Robert Johnson's “Love In Vain” captures the pathos and inherent drama of the original splendidly, marrying these elements seamlessly to sliding strings, oblique piano and, most strikingly of all, Madeleine Peyroux's astonishing vocal delivery. There's an experimental, jagged feel here, with some wonderfully menacing and off-kilter guitar. It's a stunning piece, which leaves you in no doubt as to the commitment and earnestness of the players. The Art of Time Ensemble have worked diligently to tease out the essence of Johnson's original and add their own, unique twist.
Similarly extraordinary transformations are presented throughout this record. George and Ira Gershwin's “Someone to Watch Over Me”, the single track on this album which possibly steers its course closest to the original, still manages to wrest new ideas from the piece. Subtle twists and turns add a certain unsettling sweetness to this most romantic of songs. Paul Simon's bouncing, pulsating “Boy in the Bubble” retains the energy, rhythm and depth and transcribes these to an adventurous, jazzy soundscape full of handclaps and breath-taking left-turns. Gregory Hoskins' vocals on this track are more than up to the challenge.
Equally wondrous feats come in the form of Radiohead's “Exit Music”, Lou Reed's “Sad Song”, and Joni Mitchell's “River”. In summary, there is no need for trepidation no matter which side of the fence you approach from. Ain't Got Long is a wondrous, honest and deeply respectful undertaking, which celebrates some of the best which “popular” music has to offer. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of The Art of Time Ensemble from AMAZON
For more information, bounce over to The Art of Time Ensemble website
Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars (from the album Stream of Consciousness available on Ol’ Records) (by Chris Wheatley)
The mixing of cultures has always proved fertile ground for the arts. Music, perhaps more than any other form of creative expression, benefits hugely from the cross-pollination of ideas. All of which brings us to the new album by African-Norwegian artist Olav Larsen. The eminently likeable Olav Larsen's introduction to music came via his father's extensive collection of Blues records, including classics by Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson. Larsen Jr, who already has a string of fine records to his name, cites Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, Bright Eyes, and Will Oldham as additional influences. It's fair to say Larsen shook up his native Norway when his debut hit, and his work is certainly deserving of a wider audience.
For new album Stream Of Consciousness, Olav Larsen takes vocal, guitar, harmonica, and songwriting credits, fronting and the Alabama Rodeo Stars with an intriguing mix of players and instruments, including multiple backing singers, bass harmonica, piano, fiddle, electric, and acoustic piano. A few seconds of opener “Hang Your Head Low” is enough to suggest that this is a class act. Over a delicate, lilting arrangement of piano, gently strummed guitar and echoing, swirling keys, Olav Larsen weaves an affecting spell, his fine, raw-edged vocals contrasting nicely with female counterpart, Emilie Eie, whose sweet, Folksy, and delightfully distinctive voice adds much. Larsen is also an accomplished lyricist. ‘Somebody told me, don't go with the flow, that same person told me, never keep your head low’. There's a lot to digest here, but this is also music which winds itself softly into your soul.
“Nobody Knows” exemplifies the mix of styles and influences which make Olav Larsen and the Alabama Rodeo Stars work memorable. There's a definite Americana/Country Folk feel. Also present, however, is a noticeable, modern, exploratory edge and inventive arrangements. Strings, slide guitar, and harmonica circle around one another, whirling about the vocals in a cloud of soft melodies and high sentiment. “The Moral of This Story” is equally affecting, though Larsen is far too good to rely on run-of-the-mill melodrama. This track, and the album as a whole, display a praise-worthy level of lyrical and melodic invention. Disparate sounds are allowed to float, coalesce and reform in organic fashion, which sets Stream of Consciousness above and apart from the crowd.
“Times Are Changing” shimmers on a slow-flowing stream of acoustic guitar, soft keys, and another arresting duet, this time featuring Stina Kjelstad. ‘You say you need change, but what is there to change, you're not even yourself anymore’ the twin voices lament. Olav Larsen leaves enough space in his compositions to grant the listener's imagination room to breathe and inhabit. “Misdefined” brings more rolling guitar, subtle strings, and splashes of keys. There's a strange beauty to this set, a poignant undercurrent of missed chances and lessons learned. Larsen is clearly a songwriter of considerable thought and depth. Melancholic this isn't, however. Ever present are feelings of hope and determination, backed by some achingly lovely moments.
The set closes with “It Shaped Me By the Heart”, a fine, rolling ballad with tinkling, finger-picked strings, arresting vocal harmonies, wonderful vibrato mandolin, and more of those deep overtones. ‘I've been acting like a fool, I've thrown away my pride’, sings Olav Larsen, and you can feel the passion and honesty in every word. This is an accomplished album which ought to please fans of any of Larsen's listed influences, from John Prine to Uncle Tupelo. (by Chris Wheatley)
Listen and buy the music of Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars fromAMAZON
For more information, bounce over to the Olav Larsen & The Alabama Rodeo Stars website