GERRY COLVIN BAND – Back & Forth (own label GC003)

Back & ForthTrue to form, a new album from Gerry Colvin is always something to look forward to and to be enjoyed. Back and Forth is one of those very pleasant experiences. All eleven tracks and 45 minutes of listening are self-penned from the magical pen of Gerry Colvin.

Featuring Jerome Davies, and twins Trish Power with her brother Michael Keelan, this album doesn’t disappoint. Kicking off with the very lovely but sad ‘Watching Feathers Fall’, we are immediately under Gerry Colvin’s spell. One of my favourite Gerry songs.

‘Fate’s Fast Car’ raises the tempo rather, and we are now foot tapping. This is followed by the lovely lively singalong ‘One More Week’ which reminds me of being in fields at Festivals particularly Cropredy when Gerry rocked the 20k plus crowd. Apt for the time I’m writing this review on the last day of August, and it’s feeling autumnal today. Let’s have summer back ‘One More Week’!

‘The Man That She Left You For’ is a very deep melodic haunting song, the love triangle and the person singing in the first person is the lover and how he feels about it. Very cleverly written. Another favourite of mine – ‘The Bell’ is an extraordinary emotional story of the process of manufacturing a bell – with a difference. The sweat and toil of miners, of war, of peace, it’s all in that song. Very strong and passionate story telling. I get goose pimples when I hear this every time. ‘The Bell’ is singing the song.

‘Someone Else’s Shoes’ is about a partner who needs to be elsewhere all the time and not living in the moment. Patience is not prevalent in this song of the person who is the main act in the story! Her partner is frustrated that he can’t enjoy and take time out of where they are at that moment, even under a full moon! ‘The Tragical Conceit Of Captains Millbank And Kat’ reminds me with the music being so sort of nautical and jolly of the music to kick off Captain Pugwash!! Very humorous and fast moving. A great swashbuckling lyric. Love is involved of course! Lots of violin and accordion.

‘Light Of The World’ is about a flame that keeps us moving on in various situations, and distinguishing right from wrong. The flame banishes fears and sees beauty from within and with one voice to sing. Love this track. ‘The Ninth Song’ is singing that it isn’t a significant song, such as Fred Astaire or Paul Anka, it isn’t the 8th or 10, 11th song, but does mention Steve Knightley and Phil Beer of Show of Hands! Another humorous but clever lyric.

‘The Neverendum’ is a very fast paced track, plenty of foot stomping but about a serious matter. Voting. Is it worth it, or is it a lost cause to do so. Trust when voting? Do we? Have we voted for the right person?

The last track is a really sad and hard track to listen to for those of us who have lost loved ones to the dreadful disease of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Gerry wrote this in memory of his beloved Mum, and I find it hard to listen to and to watch him sing it live. Very brave of him. The words are just amazing. He has really thought about this. Life with loneliness, locked inside their heads, occasional lucidity bringing them back to the now. Living in their past. Nobody hears them crying or laugh, or about their future or past. At the mercy of their carers. A very poignant end to the album but fabulously done.

Back And Forth was recorded at Rhythm Studios and produced by Gerry Colvin and Paul Johnston.

Jean Camp

You can buy the album from www.gerrycolvin.com and also find out where he is playing live as he is a must see live kind of guy! Ably assisted by his band members, you are guaranteed a fun gig but lots of seriously good music.

‘One More Week’ – live:

GERRY COLVIN – Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other (own label)

Gerry Colvin - Six Of OneSix Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other is perhaps an odd title for a CD of ten tracks but I’m sure that Gerry Colvin won’t let that bother him. The core band here is Jerome Davies on bass and banjo, Trish Power on accordion and Lyndon Webb on guitar and mandolin with guest strings and percussion producing a sound somewhere between Americana and British folk-rock.

There is a great mix of styles and subject matter in the set. The opener, ‘The Man With The Watch’, is a philosophical contemplation on the passage of time built on a throbbing bass and Michael Keelan’s fiddle – an instrument that appears a lot – with acoustic lead guitar but the mood immediately switches with a song about the Battle of Culloden, ‘The Thistle And The Rose’. At this point you know you can’t let your attention wander lest you miss something important. ‘The Waiting Room’ is a beautiful song about a hospital visit blending the reluctance and awkwardness with compassion. If it isn’t taken up by someone on the folk club circuit, there is no justice.

‘Johnny Cash Shirt’ is the story of a musical wannabe which probably uniquely mentions King’s Lynn and which starts out with a semi-reasonable premise but gets more extreme as the song proceeds as does ‘God In The Bar’ later on. ‘I’m Postponing My Rehab ‘Til Tomorrow’ is a feeling we’ve all experienced – let’s hear it for debauchery! We pass through the nicely pastoral ‘My Country’ and end with ‘The Last Two People Left On Earth Tonight’, a surprisingly tender love song.

Six Of One Half A Dozen Of The Other is an album packed full of delights and deserves a much higher profile than I fear it will receive.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: www.gerrycolvin.com

‘The Waiting Room’ – live:

THE JIGANTICS – Seconds Out (Rawtone RTR20078)

Seconds OutThe Jigantics’ debut album, Daisy Roots, was a fun, slightly eccentric set that failed to disguise the band’s serious intent and their second outing, Seconds Out, is rather less light-hearted. That’s not to say that there is any lack of imagination or music to rock along with – far from it – but there are fewer laughs here.

As before, they have drawn material from far and wide to add to four originals written by Martin Fitzgibbon with help from Mark Cole. The set opens with ‘Take Me For Longing’, originally by Alison Krauss but here nicely rocked up. That’s followed by one of the most original takes on a punk song you’ll ever hear. ‘Rebel Yell’ has been taken apart, cleaned and oiled and put back together in what initially reminds me of film noir, if that makes sense, but builds inexorably to a climax and is stretched out to more than five minutes – unheard of when it was written.

As well as the opener, Marion Fleetwood is given the lead on two of the slower, perhaps more dramatic songs. The first is Richard Shindell’s much-covered civil war song, ‘Reunion Hill’, and the second, which reflects its sentiments, is James Grant’s ‘I Will Not Wear The Willow’ on which she shares the vocals with Christine Collister and becomes a complete string section as the song moves to its close.

The light-heartedness comes from the original compositions. ‘Radio’ begins with a clever double entendre, ‘Frankly’ wraps up its politics in an upbeat arrangement and ‘Hate To See You Go Love To Watch You Walk Away’ speaks for itself. Martin Fitzgibbon’s closer, ‘Angels Wings’ proves that there is great depth to his song-writing and that he’s good for so much more than the light relief.

Every member of the band is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. Rick Edwards and Lyndon Webb produce note-perfect acoustic guitar fills with assistance from producer Aaron Taylor and Lyndon provides bass, keyboards and second fiddle while Rick and Mark Cole offer slide guitar. Throw in accordion, harmonica, mandolin and Fitzgibbon’s drums and percussion and you have a hell of a band here, not to mention a hell of fine record.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: www.thejigantics.com

The Jigantics’ album launch sound-check at The Convent:

THE JIGANTICS’ DEBUT ALBUM – Daisy Roots

Jigantics-row2DAISY ROOTS, the debut album from the Jigantics has the feel good factor and this is often referred to about the Jigantics live show. It reflects the bands belief that having a good time on stage and enjoying the music you make translates to your audience. But that’s not the whole story. Their show and this album are far from one dimensional. If yin and yang represent two differing musical principles then they are greater as a whole. So just when you think you know what’s coming next the band change tack to tweak a different set of emotions, with songs such as The Valley a beautiful, thoughtful piece, written by KD Lang’s long term collaborator Jane Siberry. Daisy Roots was recorded over an eighteen month period in three different studios.

The process began at Blue Moon Studios in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where the band inevitably met up with various members of Fairport on their home turf (including the local curry house) and borrowed one of Chris Leslie’s precious mandolins for one particular track. The move to the Match Factory Studios in Gloucester produced some gritty live tracks, like Hole in My Head and Bad Liver and a Broken Heart with great slide guitar from Rick Edwards and some mean Squeezebox and Harp playing from Mark Cole. As frequent visitors to Clarksdale, Mississippi, Rick and Mark are big fans of the Blues and recorded in Clarksdale with some of the genre’s all time greats, such as Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters piano player, as well as sharing a stage with fellow Blues fans and music luminaries Robert Plant and Keith Richards. Plump Hill Studios in the Forest of Dean contributed the final tracks to the album. It was at this point Marion Fleetwood recorded the string parts (viola, violins and cello) for The Valley and Black Mountain Lullaby – a true story of three year-old Jeremy Davidson who was killed in his own bed in Appalachia, VA when a half-ton boulder crashed through the exterior wall of his trailer home – and with a young son of her own Marion delivered a powerful vocal performance on this track to accompany her string arrangement.

Bass player Lyndon Webb was recruited during this time and showed his great versatility by contributing mandolin, lead guitar, and somewhat to the others annoyance, first time pitch perfect backing vocals, as well as some great bass lines. The majority of songs on this album are covers, although there is no shortage of writers in the band. Drummer Martin Fitzgibbon who mixed and produced the album explains the bands thinking.

“It would have been simple to follow the current trend of exclusively recording our own material. That’s a very crowded musical area and we made a choice at an early stage to judge each song on its merit, regardless of its origin. Consequently, there are a variety of writers on this album. Some you may not have heard of, others are well known and consistently produce work of a high quality. Originality is fine but it’s far from being a guaranteed badge of excellence in my experience. We also make the same judgement with our live material. Anyone can bring a song along to a rehearsal and if we like it and it fits into our set then we’ll consider doing it. If it’s written by a band member fine, if not why should it matter? What’s important is that we feel it’s a good song. It’s going to be played in our fashion, which is unlikely to be the same as the original given the instrumentation we use, so it will be our interpretation of someone else’s song. I don’t expect everyone will agree with me, but I spend quite a bit of time at festivals, either waiting to sound check, listening to others sound check, or hanging around waiting to go on stage, and all that time I’m hearing other artists. My preference is always to hear good songs. It doesn’t matter to me as an audience member if it’s an original or not, just play me some good music and I’m happy. That’s the philosophy we have adopted in this band and luckily everyone buys into it. We’re really fortunate that there are no big ego’s to be placated or childish behaviour to be endured. We all get on brilliantly and that makes life and work so much easier”.

The idea for the Jigantics came after some festivals Martin played in Spain.

“We were in Cordoba, a non tourist town, in their massive square. They held a festival which was attended by what seemed to be the whole of Cordoba, young and old, kids running around in a safe environment, babes in arms. There must have been around 30,000 or so drinking dancing and having a great time. They spoke little English but didn’t need to; they were simply enjoying the universal language of music. On the plane back home I thought about putting something together which might replicate that great feeling. The festivals in the UK (mostly folk) I was playing were packed full of singer songwriters, some trios, a few duos. As a drummer, I like to hear a rhythm section and the kind of dynamic that provides”

This band is still evolving, they’ve come a long way as Daisy Roots  goes to prove, they know what they have to do and how to get there. This is just the beginning…

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“…the five piece prove to be a joyful stew of Cajun, country, folk and roots rock” NetRhythms

“Fantastic music… The Jigantics were a highlight act” The Daily Telegraph

FOLKLAW – The Tales That They Tell (Own Label)

After releasing his debut album, Nation’s Pride, under the name Folklaw, Nick Gibbs has now put together a full band to go with that name and progress to a second CD. The line-up comprises guitarists Bryn Williams and Lyndon Webb with Gaz Hunt and, on loan from ColvinQuarmby, Marty Fitzgibbon on backing vocals and percussion. Their sound is light enough for small venues with Gibbs’ fiddle and Webb’s mandolin providing lead lines but also robust enough for festival gigs.

All bar one of the songs are by Nick and most address Continue reading FOLKLAW – The Tales That They Tell (Own Label)