NAVARO – Diamond Skies & Desert Roads (Leading Horses Records LHREC05)

Diamond Skies & Desert RoadsWith their debut album, Under Diamond Skies, no longer obtainable Navaro have decided to make a selection from it available on-line and I must admit it’s been a pleasure to hear these first tracks again. You don’t get much time to listen just for fun in this game. There are three new tracks and Diamond Skies & Desert Roads will be available as a CD for sale at gigs – when gigs are possible again.

The songs are written by Pete White or Steve Austin except for the delightful country roll of ‘Blackbird’ which concludes the original set and was written by lead vocalist Beth Navaro. To complete the picture, producer Mark Stevens adds drums, trumpet and Hammond organ and Gareth Turner plays melodeon. Mark also contributes orchestrations – listen to ‘Like The Rain’. I’m assured that the tracks haven’t been remastered although Steve admits that they might have been “tweaked” and “delicately edited” a bit. Whatever: they sound fresh and new.

The album opens with ‘When You Go From My Door’, the band’s first single, and is typical of Navaro with Beth’s distinctive voice supported by soaring harmonies. The tunes are not particularly complex although the arrangements make up for that. The melodies are absolutely right for the lyrics and damnably catchy – ‘Always’ being a prime example. Pete’s electric guitar solos dress up the songs without being overstated.

The first of the new tracks is ‘Sing Out Loud’ is essentially a Steve Austin solo recorded on his boat and provides the album’s title. You could call it a demo but it doesn’t really need much more. The other two new songs, ‘Stealing Thunder’ and ‘From A Mended Heart’ feature Mark Stevens on trumpets and percussion and are probably finished tracks. Navaro don’t rush into recording and we shouldn’t expect to have a whole new album for a year or two yet so it’s good to have some new music to keep us going.

Diamond Skies & Desert Roads comes as an unexpected treat and if you don’t know Navaro yet this is the right place to start your exploration.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Always’ recording session:

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