STEVIE PALMER – Heartprint Shadow (Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 347)

I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of watching ‘music’ award ceremonies where pristine trophies are thrust in the direction of the likes of Tinie Tempah or Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu as he’s known to his mates. Far better for them to be awarded to thought provoking singer-songwriter’s the calibre of Stevie Palmer who immediately brought to mind that of a Scottish sounding Christopher Cross with the opening track “Everybody Knows” featured on his debut album. Perhaps it’s the brooding piano intro provided by Kim Edgar and Steven Christies programmed strings coupled with Wendy Wetherby (cello), Allan Knox (bass) and Steven Polwart’s classical acoustic guitar but the cumulatuve effect is evocative and to be honest quite stunning. On another offering “Star Rising” Palmer has a cleverly constructed, cliché driven song that once again proves he’s no slouch in knowing what he requires instrumentally to convey his lyrics even utilising plucked ukulele alongside Mary MacMaster’s harp on an arrangement that is dignified without being over sentimental. On the track “Where The Bison Fell” with its subject matter possibly inspired by the Dee Brown book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (?) the tale of the spiritually impoverished Native American is heart-achingly told in a sparse arrangement that should be required listening for anyone who has a conscience and at this point congratulations should also be accorded to recording engineer Ian McCalman and Stuart Hamilton for excellent mixing and mastering. For such a thoughtful and insightful musician you’d never have guessed Stevie started out in the business as a drummer (no offence Phil Collins) but so long as he continues to let the creative juices flow from his pen I really think we are going to be hearing a lot more of this welcome addition to the ‘acoustic-folk’ community.


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