Johnny Coppin – Borderland (Red Sky Records RSKCD120)

BorderlandJohnny Coppin’s latest album, Borderland, is a collection of songs from England, Ireland Wales and the US. Johnny also has an impressive list of guests singing and playing on the album – Karen Tweed, Paul Burgess, Mike Silver, Geoff March, John Neilson, Kevin Harcourt and David Pickering Pick who all have their own successful careers in their own right.

Borderland is a stripped-down acoustic album with a ‘live’ feel.  Shut your eyes and you have him in your living room or as a passenger in your car. The songs are about ‘real’ people and experiences, about war, romance and feelings. Twelve songs for your delectation and all of them are superb.  The three songs in the “war” section are gut-wrenching and bring home the horrors of WW1 and dreaming of home, lying about their age to get to the front and death. I love Johnny’s voice as it is melodic, haunting and just plain fabulous, and he has done a great justice to this album, also playing guitars and piano in his own inimitable graceful style.

The other nine tracks include arrangements of traditional songs.  Self penned numbers include ‘When The Morning’s Here’, ‘Cariad Cyntaf (First Love)’ and the title track tune ‘Borderland’ in collaboration with John Neilson.

This album has not been off my player and is already a favourite in my extensive music collection.  Do buy the album, and better still, go see him live! Borderland was produced by having sponsors who are all mentioned on the album cover, and the cover and booklet illustrations were exquisitely produced by Johnny’s partner Katharine Neilson, with design by John Neilson. Very pleasantly packaged and presented.

Johnny will be taking his album out on a tour in the spring of 2014, and the official release date of the album is April 7th. A regular Festival favourite, Johnny also has his own long running successful Acoustic Music show on Radio Gloucestershire every Saturday at 17.30.

Jean Camp

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Mike Silver Jack DancesYou know it is going to be a little gem the minute singer/songwriter Mike Silver releases a new album and his latest – Jack Dances is certainly no exception.  All the tracks were written by Mike Silver.

10 glorious tracks are on the album, telling tales of loved ones, wishes for grandson, daughter making her own way in life, lost paradise, Jack Dances, trying to change a loved one, a song for his tenor guitar, wishful thinking and a song about his father and grandfather.  This album is full of song yet story-telling at its best.

Most of the tracks are Mike’s inimitable style of getting to the heart of the listener with his mellow and haunting melodic voice.  On a couple of the tracks Mike funks it up a bit on his tenor guitar!  Paradise Lost features dreams of paradise and when you get there is all commercialised and not as idyllic as portrayed.  7th son was written and St Ives features in it, a bit of a riddle!

Guests on the album include Nils Tuxen on Dobro, Christi Andropolis on fiddle and Stewart Hardy on violin and viola.

Mike has this knack of playing with the listeners heart strings with just about everything he writes, and this album is no exception.  The cover is a beautiful painting by Dani Wyndham-Reed of Jack Dances in front of Mike looking towards his lovely wife.  In his cover notes his friend and supporter – John Wallace – writes a beautiful tribute to Mike.

A lovely album and one that has not been out of my player since I had it!  You won’t be disappointed. Jean Camp

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