It’s been a 10-year gap between recordings but fans of the folk veterans Meet on the Ledge will rejoice when they listen to the just-released “Long Shadows”.
Of course the folk harmonies and masterful instrumentation upon which MOTL built it’s well deserved legacy and following, are beautifully showcased and presented on its latest release. There’s no arguing that.
But if forced to choose one song that showcases the band’s musical chops and expertise it would have to be its cover of “Smoke on the Water.”
What the band did when it rethought and rewired the classic heavy metal anthem is a task at which only a master could excel. Clearly MOTL founder Ron Holmes, who has his own independent musical pedigree, and his band mates were more than up to the task.
They created a version of “Smoke on the Water” that has just enough electric guitar and pulsating drums to make it familiar. Yet the slower tempo and acoustic accents give it a whole new personality, showcasing an elegance that is often lost amid the clanging and banging of the heavy metal versions.
As fans know, Meet on the Ledge rarely make missteps and that’s certainly true on this 12-track gem. Just listen to “Who Told the Butcher,” the Peter Knight tune, which marries contemporary instrumentation to world-weary lyrics and binds them together with glorious harmonies. The same came be said of “Travelin’ Soldier,” a tune the band found in America, which gives a slightly different perspective to the lass who longs for a connection to a certain soldier.
Other don’t miss tracks include the upbeat (yes, really) “The Murdering of Edwin Jones,” – presented in a bit less grisly way than the much-loved “Matty Groves” — and the hearty, traditional “Last Boat from Bolton” written by long-time friend of the band, Kevin Day.
The album is as satisfying as a bowl of hot soup on a cold, winter’s day and just as tasty.
Welcome back, MOTL!
Reviewed by: Nancy Dunham