Will someone please explain why Otley’s finest folk-rock band are not huge stars. The Silences In Between is their third studio album – there’s also a rocking live set – and is as good as anything they’ve done.
There’s plenty to enjoy here. ‘I Don’t Know’ is about love as in “I don’t know much about love …but I’m gonna to find out” – there’s a Richard Thompson song that would follow it perfectly – and ‘Haul Away’ sounds like a rollicking old shanty. I love ‘Barleycorn Boy’ which is plainly not a folk song because “nobody dies and nobody drowns and no-one gets lost at the fair”, a typically witty Jon Palmer lyric adding a modern twist to an old idea. Two songs have appeared before on the live album: the title track and the traditional ‘Pay Me My Money Down’. The former is a love song with all the drive that the band can muster and could be a single if such things still mattered and the latter gets a more considered treatment than it does as a live show closer.
The line-up remains determinedly acoustic with guitars, double bass and Jon’s son Tom on cajon as the only percussion. Instrumental breaks come from Wendy Ross on fiddle and Matt Nelson’s mandolin, whistle and saxophone. My first impression was that there is more poetry than politics in The Silences In Between. The one obviously protest song is ‘There’s A Cold Wind Blowing (Over This Land)’ which sort of updates Billy Bragg’s ‘Between The Wars’ and that’s no bad thing since nothing much has changed since Bill wrote it.
There’s also a measure of unrequited love. ‘Hour Glass’, featuring the only guest appearance from singer Rachel Goodwin, is one such. Like several of Jon’s songs, it’s deceptively simple, but there is something oddly post-apocalyptic about it and the line “Burn the cathedrals” is the one that sticks in the mind. After one or two plays I think I understand why Jon didn’t include the lyrics with the record – the feel of a song is more important than detailed textual analysis – and there is little profit in trying to unpick his words.
The bottom line is that this is a superb album of 21st century folk-rock. Go out and buy it in thousands and make the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band rich and famous.
Phil Beer hits the road again for a series of solo dates and a couple of band dates in April. Before we launch into the gig dates, I wanted to remind you all of the fantastic body of work Phil released in 2010, which was known commonly as “Box Set 1”.
The work would suit both Beer aficionados, Show of Hands fans and anyone that has seen Phil play live. The work, as a whole, is a great reminder of the breath of Phil’s musical partnerships, as well as his diversity of material and multi-instrumental talents. As well as a few Show of Hands rarities, you are also treated to the other Phil Beer collaborations with the Arizona Smoke Revue, Arizonas, Ridgeriders and the Albion Band. The CD box set features music partnerships with a wide range of artists including: Mike Oldfield, Paul Downers, Julie Matthews, Deb Sandland, Miranda Sykes, Ashley Hutchings, Jon Moore, Simon Care, Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, Jenna and Tom Palmer.
The CD’s are split into 3 discs and contain the following gems:
Disc: 1 – Archive
1. The First World War – Phil Beer And School Chums
2. Jan Tregale – Oddfolk
3. Berepper Beach – Oddfolk
4. The Hunting Of Arscott Of Tetcott – Downes And Beer
5. Spanish Ladies – Downes And Beer
6. Morning Sky – Arizona Smoke Revue
7. Factory – Arizonas
8. Take Back Your Pictures – Arizonas
9. Down In Yon Forest – Phil Beer
10. Thomas’s Morris – Phil Beer
11. Set Their Mouths To Twisting – Phil Beer
12. Nameless Kind Of Hell – Phil Beer/Albions
13. Last Picture Show – Show Of Hands
14. White Tribes – Show Of Hands
15. Weathercock – Phil Beer/ Nick Henness
16. Lifeline – Phil Beer/Albions/Swan Arcade
Disc: 2 – Acoustic Live
1. Old Riley – Phil Beer
2. Robbers’ Roost – Ridgeriders
3. Blind Fiddler – Phil And Julie Matthews
4. Long Black Veil – Phil And Deb Sandland
5. Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear – Phil Beer
6. Devils Right Hand – Phil Beer
7. Willin’ – Phil Beer And Miranda Sykes
8. Youngstown – Phil Beer
9. Bus Stop – Phil Beer
10. Cocaine – Phil Beer
11. Icicles – Miranda Sykes And Phil Beer
12. Exile – Phil Beer And Miranda Sykes
13. Flowers Of The Forest/The Holy Brook/When This Bloody War Is Over – Phil Beer And Miranda Sykes
14. Varso Vianna – Phil Beer
15. Warlike Lads Of Russia – Phil Beer
Disc: 3 – Acostic Studio
1. The Life Of A Fool – Phil Beer With Ashley Hutchings, Jon Moore And Simon Care
2. Lo! What A Glorious Sight Appears – Albion Band
3. Red River Valley – Phil Beer
4. Santiago – Alianza
5. The Three Knights – Phil Beer
6. Sit You Down – Phil Beer With Mike Oldfield
7. Border Song – Phil Beer
8. Blow The Man Down – Phil Beer With Jackie Oates And Jim Causley
9. Bus Stop – Phil Beer
10. Undertow – Show Of Hands With Jenna
11. The Downeaster Alexa – Phil Beer
12. Static On The Line – Tom Palmer With Phil Beer
13. Dakka Dan – Tom Palmer With Phil Beer
14. Crockery Ware – Jackie Oates With Phil Beer
15. I Wish/Ichbod – Jackie Oates With Phil Beer
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