STEAM RADIO – The Twilight Shift (Own Label SRAD 01)

Some years ago I had the pleasure of performing alongside multi-instrumentalist Martin Matthews (ex-Champion Sting Band) on a tour in France along with the Clann Na Gael Irish Dancers. The only reason I mention this is that Martin must have been strongly influenced by the indigenous music that now plays a significant part in the make-up of the folk-rock band Steam Radio. Along with collaborators Andy McLaughlin, Dan Hands, Tony Martin, David Pratt and Steve Farrow the French/Breton influence is obvious utilising many Dance Plinn style melodies. This carries over to the use of McLaughlin’s use of English pipes and Hands fiddle driving things along at a cracking pace. On the song front Tony Martin’s expressive North-East lilt (much like that of Tom Gilfellon) is just what is required to propel the bonhomie of the band and on his own composition of unrequited love “Martha” and Dougie MacLean’s “Pabay Mor” where a more-or-less Country influence is employed break up the instrumental sets in an appealing ‘let’s just enjoy ourselves’ kind of way. It’s also nice to hear “Jim Jones At Botany Bay” (to give it its full title) a song that will always remind me of The Bushwackers Band from Australia. This infectious blend in return rubs off onto the listener who I’m sure will wind up with a smile on their face and I expect to see everybody linking their pinkies together and dancing continuously for three or four hours.


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