Essaying the past review
summary of The Fair Love - a man in his 50s and a woman in her 20s meet, fall in love, and start a relationship - is not for most viewers especially appealing. Bryan listed the various guitarists who'd had the greatest influence on his bluegrass guitar playing, guys who happened also to be friends and inspirations to him; then, instead of bringing them into the sterile studio environment to play, took some recording equipment into their homes. Finally receiving a hefty promotional push, chances are this, their fourth studio album should change that and produce the same sort of crossover breakout recently enjoyed by Lady Antebellum. As befits the subject matter, the approach is relaxed and mellow and although he does turn up the heat slightly on the jangling I Think We're Lost (with a guitar solo that surely nods to George Harrison) and the poppy singalong Ship Of Fools,. What I cannot appreciate is the outcome of such adaptation. There's predictedly reliable support from his band (fiddle, banjo, guitars competent, straight-down-the-line, no-nonsense playing that just gets on with it and says what it needs to perfectly economically with no excess baggage and no soloing. The disc concludes with a typically idiomatic runthrough of the Lightnin' Hopkins arrangement of Blues In The Bottle and a gentle gospel-style treatment of John Hardy that's given extra resonance by the presence of Olabelle and then a prominent lonesome keening fiddle (Tim again). The eponymous title track is a grittier, tougher blues altogether and the trio get into a groove. Together, however, the ten songs portray a measured consistency of approach, the downside of which is that there's no escaping the impression that several of the tracks (particularly in the album's later stages) sound rather similar: certainly that's been the experience I've had from.
For instance, the 1969 Top Gear session (which provided the source for four tracks on the BBC various-artists album-of-the-show) is notable for including a lovely cover of The River (written by John Martyn, a good friend of Bridget's) and a very credible take on Joni. But the main course, the album Country Life, is another excellent product all round, I say. Turning Of The Tide is a brief yet telling piece documenting the final stage of a relationship. Say It Louder, which turns out to be Sarah's sixth album, has been available on download for just over a year now, but it's now been taken up by Proper Distribution, which is good news (it certainly doesn't deserve to languish in cyberspace). Peggy's supreme skill as a songmaker is complemented by her skill as a raconteur, and there are plenty of jokes (and serious inferences to be drawn) snuggled cordially into the running-order, along with what the press handout brilliantly describes as "tart (spoken) hand grenades into. At the time of his initial diagnosis in the spring of 2007, and while awaiting treatment, Oliver recorded Hymns And Hers, an ensemble project on which he collaborated with friends old and new including some of Toronto's finest musicians (including David Woodhead, who's also worked. And if anyone out there thinks playing a tambourine is easy, well, try listening to Steve Amedee again - he gets sounds of that humble little instrument which just beggar belief.
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