Both Possil Mór and their album Tales From The Garscube Road take their names from the area of Glasgow from which they hail. The band is essentially a duo of guitarist Bill Alexander who writes most of the music and vocalist Edith Casey but they have a lot of friends including Adam Sutherland, John Somerville, Katie Rush, Fraser Spiers, Andrew Cowie, Jennifer Clark and Andrew Samson.
On first listening I felt that the opening track, ‘Love In The Shadows’, was a bit too radio friendly for my taste. I suppose it’s inevitable in this age of limited attention spans that you have to grab your potential audience as quickly as you can. Second time around I felt better about, particularly Konrad Wiszniewski’s lively saxophone coda. ‘Coming Home’, which follows, is a nice song but, again, it won’t scare the horses and I was beginning to wonder what to do.
‘Letty’s Song’ changed that. It’s a song about Scottish emigration, specifically to Nova Scotia in this case. It balances the regret of leaving with the determination to give their families a better life together with the understanding of why they were forced to leave Scotland. ‘Horse Dealing Blues’ is a bit of an oddity and I concluded that it has nothing to do with quadrupeds; “I don’t want to do this no more” is a bit of a clue. From there we go to the almost traditional folk-rock of ‘Ian MacLaren’s Jig’, giving Edith a break and the rest of the cast a chance for a good blow.
‘Broken Dreams’ brings the tempo down a bit as Edith sings of betrayal by a man (something of a love rat by all accounts) and at the beginning of ‘Time’ I heard a whisper of ‘Unchained Melody’ which disappeared on the breeze as the song goes off in a completely different direction. It’s a song about standing by your own convictions, I guess. ‘Springtime In Paris’ avoids being a pastiche, even though all the ingredients are available, and instead is a genuine paeon to the city where “you can find a friend”. The slightly jazzy ‘Other Side Of Me’ is a song of mixed emotions or perhaps divided loyalties and that leads into the second instrumental, ‘McGill Waltz’. ‘Saint Catherine’, the final song, may be about Catherine of Alexandria who gave her name to the Catherine wheel and not in a good way. It seems that Tales From The Garscube Road has kept its best until last.
I quickly grew to like this album. There are parts you can sing along with or even dance to but the songs also have enough depth to make you think and dig a little deeper into some of the background.
Artists’ website: www.possilmor.com
‘Letty’s Song’ – official video:
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