BLIND RIVER SCARE – Pastures New (Creosote CR004CD)

Pastures NewBlind River Scare is the performing vehicle for South Wales based singer-songwriter, Tim Manning, here, on their fourth album, working as a trio with Steve Loosemeore on upright bass and Mike Hopkins providing harmonium, mandolin and Hammond augmenting his acoustic and resonator guitar. Musically, he’s rooted in Americana, alt-country and roots, the gently rolling resonator backed cowboyish ‘Restless Soul’ nodding to the genre’s retro influences.

It’s only a six track release, but Manning ensures each one counts, opening with the strummed title ballad about two lonely souls in a bar looking for, as it says, pastures new but experienced enough to realise they may not necessarily be green.

More fingerpicked, ‘Close To Home’ is another old school flavoured number, a song about a driver and a series of encounters with, variously a young girl, old lady and a drunk, all in need of help with no idea where they came from or how they got there, driving home on the road past the local cemetery; this being country, the presumption is they’re all ghosts.

Nodding to folksier influences and with mandolin frills, ‘But Still You Stay’ is another relationship themed song, this time about domestic abuse and the victim’s inability to leave, while, with more of a percussive guitar style with bluegrass notes, ‘No Jericho’ concerns dreams unfulfilled, falling apart not in some dramatic crash but slowly, stone by stone, over the years.

It ends, all too soon, but on an hopeful note that echoes how it began, with ‘Sideways Slide’, a honky-tonk waltzer about a chance encounter across a railway carriage between two people in need of someone to want them. They’re gigging throughout the late summer and autumn around the Midlands and the South, if they’re in your neck of the woods you should check them out and pick up a copy of this their other CDs while you’re at it.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.blindriverscare.co.uk

 

‘Close To Home’ – live: