I’m not sure how much truth there is in the PR blurb’s romantic image of the nine (occasionally more) piece outfit cutting logs by day and spending the evenings writing and singing in the woods (though frontman Gavin Munro, of the late lamented Southpaw, does work as a truck driving lumberjack), but I’ll happily go along with its description of the music as Country Americana with a Celtic twist.
An unusual line-up for an Americana act, they feature sax and trombone as well as the usual guitar, lap steel, harmonica and mandolin which bring a rich, full texture to the material as Munro and Katie Burgoyne handle the drawled vocals.
Covering a spectrum of subject matter from murder and betrayal to gospel and, on Sweet Seville, Spanish brothels, their songs of ‘Saturday night sinning and Sunday morning salvation’ wear their influences proudly. Different Lonesome and The Way It Was are steeped in the rhythms and sound of The Band while the ringing guitars and uptempo melody line of Lonely Days Are Gone follow a lineage from The Byrds through to The Jayhawks and the Speaking Of Your Name conjures the halcyon days of Emmylou and Gram.
It gets a bit bogged down midway with the ponderous one-note six minute Hurricanes, disposable rocker Bad Taste and the fittingly titled aimless mariachi of No Direction, but for the most part this is solid stuff with a closing take on the trad gospel Oh Sinnerman (fond memories of The Seekers, anyone?) taken at a slow burn with trumpet, banjo and guitar seeing it out on a ‘more soon please’ note.
Review by: Mike Davies
Released by Red Pine Records, March 10