Dressed in his Sunday best.
Hands caked in mud and dirt.
Black and white polka dot dress.
Hands Chaffed raw.
The sights that the farmer saw.
Hard land, hard graft.
Where the hope, and the love,
and the home endure.
Black, unworn tyres.
Ground scorched by time and fire.
Tied in knots.
No, forget me nots.
Every week we walk this road, me and my Ron. 38 years man and wife, and the year’s never dragged on. We have the bus drop us off in town, it is so much cheaper with my bus pass, it makes up for the pictures being so expensive. I have a Maeve Binchy on the go, and Ron has his Sudoku. We had Scampi and Chips, and a table by the fire. Ron proposed a toast to Christmas, only a week until our Sarah’s home, with her new man. She says he is very nice, but we have heard it all before. I like happy endings, not tears before bedtime, but we will have tinsel and family, and take the dogs to the park on Boxing Day, as we start to put the remnants of the old year away.
CD Review – The Innocent Ones by Willie Nile – 8 out of 10
The Singer-songwriter Willie Nile is something of a musical magpie, but always managing to fashion something new out of older material. His voice is part Elvis Costello, part Bob Dylan, part Tom Waits, part Tom Petty, but always his own. His music is part Punk, part New Wave, part retro, part rock, part blues, part jazz, but an attractive hybrid nevertheless, but what he sings about is not your usual boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy learns something type narrative, there is something more at work here. With a stripped down band personal of multi-instrumentalists Willie Nile, Steuart Smith, doing most of the musical heavy-lifting, and Frankie Lee as co-songwriter, backing vocalist, and provider of the groups powerful drum sounds, the album has a multi-layered full sound, using more than the two guitar, drums and bass format, with piano, organ, harmonicas, sitar guitars,banjo, and pump organ adding to the mix. The album goes from the protest song ‘One Guitar’ which recasts the rhythm parts of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ to good effect, to the ballads ‘The Innocent Ones’ and ‘Sideways Beautiful’, to the punky ‘Cant stay home’ and ‘Hear you Breathe’. This is a fine album, full of something new using something old, perfect for older punks and new wavers who are not ready for the pipes and slippers.
CD Review – Still Making History – Ana Popovic
The latest album from Serbian guitarist/singer-songwriter Ana Popovic draws on a series of influences, while maintaining a distinctive identity of her own.
The music changes from straightforward blues, to jazz with elements of rock and reggae helping to tell blues stories from a different perspective. The immigration issue is featured in ‘Hold on’ and ‘Shadow after Dark’, while other songs such as ‘Hungry’ and Willie Mae Thornton’s ‘You don’t move me’ concentrate on relationships.
The guitar playing draws on Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, with some very good slide guitar featuring throughout the album, but also has echoes of Wes Montgomery, while her singing has elements of Bonnie Raitt and such rock orientated singers as Anastacia. The use of a strong band, with brass and Hammond Organ and which features singer and keyboard player John Cleary, also helps to add to the mix.
The growing confidence in both song-writing and playing, as well as a developing voice, means that Ana Popovic will be a name to look out for in the future.
Ana Popovic – Blind for Love
Ana Popovic’s latest release finds the Serbian guitarist singer/songwriter leading a talented band through some genres and feels during the 45 minutes, 12 track duration of Blind for Love.
Her guitar playing is now more extensive, but dynamically diverse than it was, with tones that are reminiscent of Robert Cray during album opener ‘Nothing Personal’ or the wah-wah infused, Hendrix vibe of ‘Wrong Woman’.
A talented slide guitarist, this side of Popovic’s sound is explored during the KT Tunstall like acoustic guitar driven ‘Steal me Away’ while wah wah and slide provide a strong sound during ‘Putting out the APB’ which will be a future live favourite. A popular live draw, with Youtube and her live DVD showing that she is more than capable of holding her own in front of a live crowd.
Other genres are touched upon, from the Jazz like the title track, to the straight-ahead blues of ‘Need your love’ and ‘Blues for M’. ‘More Real’ has an atmospheric slide guitar and keyboard backing, with much added by the gospel singers in her backing band.
The marketing team has partly focused on Popovic’s good looks in the packaging, but she is more than a pretty face, as the contents of this disc show.
In the same way that I don’t trust
people who don’t like Simon and Garfunkel,
I don’t trust people who compare themselves to Marmite.
That whole you either love me, or you hate me thing.
I hate you.
A proper Marmite person would be brown,
have a problem with yeast,
and live in a small, darkened jar in the cupboard.