Album review: THE GETAWAY DRIVERS – Bellatopia

THE GETAWAY DRIVERS - Bellatopia

[Release date 04.07.15]

Bellatopia, their fourth release, marks The Getaway Drivers’ 10 year anniversary, although only Wisconsin folk singer-songwriter Bob Manor (guitar, piano, vocals) and bassist Ken Keeley remain from the original line up.

Essentially an Americana/rock outfit, the band’s line up has changed considerably over the intervening years, but since 2006 they’ve been co fronted by Sheila Shigley (violin, mandolin, vocals) with the current line-up including Dan Butson (electric guitars), drummer Greg Thornberg, and post album recruit Iris Hutchings on backing vocals.

Crowd funded, Bellatopia ranges from rootsy folk/country to alt/country radio-friendly rock and opens on a sublime high with ‘Suburban Summer Shine’ – a piano riff leads off, Shigley’s lead vocals shine, the rhythm section kicks in, there’s a big hook chorus, and chiming guitars. It’s not a new formula, but it is a thing of considerable beauty in a vein not dissimilar to GRTR! UK favourites Katy Lied (who sadly, seem to have vanished since their excellent 2011 release Summer Lightning).

Elsewhere there’s melancholy folk/country ballads – ‘Warning Bones’ having a wonderfully bitter sweet mid-section guitar break, bouncy Jeff Lynne-style ditties, some wonderful harmonising à la early Deacon Blue on the up tempo ‘A Call Out’, and ‘Better Days’ captures memories of early Simon and Garfunkel.

Nothing is over embellished, and at times Bellatopia reflects the golden era that gave us bands like River City People and Love & Money in the late 1980′s.  The other standout number is ‘Signs’ – where Manor’s Tom Petty-influenced vocals combine to marvellous effect with Steely Dan-ish jazzy vibes and some delightful lead guitar work.  It’s another impossibly catchy number.

It’s an accomplished release, and one that offers a broad range of styles.  Pursue the right one and The Getaway Drivers could just outrun the pack.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley



On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)

Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)



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