Quick plays: SOUTHERN COMPANION, RACKHOUSE PILFER, MATT WOOSEY

SOUTHERN COMPANION  1000 Days Of Rain

SOUTHERN COMPANION  1000 Days Of Rain [Release date 23.02.15]

On first listen you’d be forgiven for thinking The Southern Companion were from across the pond with their soulful brand of blues / rock infused Americana / country.  In fact, you need look no further than Hampshire.

A vehicle for the talents of singer songwriter Darren Hodson, the collective of players that make up The Southern Companion have a wealth of experience as session players for artists such as Rumer, Lana Del Ray, James Morrison, Lulu, Pete Townsend and Tom Jones.

While the line is flexible depending on availability, the core band on 1000 Days Of Rain  the band’s second album  is Hodson (vocals and guitar), Simon Johnson (guitars and mandolin), Olly Richmond-Jones (drums), Stuart Ross (bass) and Lee Maycock (keys).

Influences of The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty, The Band, Del Amitri, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, The Beatles, and Ryan Adams shine through in a supremely consummate and polished set that bears many of the hallmarks  by way of material, delivery and vocally  of Van ‘The Man’.  High praise, indeed.   ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

MATT WOOSEY  Desiderata [Release date 02.03.16]

Singers, songwriters.  There’s one, or more, in every street.  Or so it seems these days.  So it takes something pretty special to climb to the top of the pile.

From the opening refrains, it’s clear that Desiderata  the eigtth studio release by Cornish based singer songwriter Matt Woosey is a beautifully crafted and loving produced piece of work.

But the two essential are ingredients and the song, and the singer.  In that order.  The greatest singer in the world is nothing without the right material.  And the further your singing voice is away from pitch perfect X Factor perfection, the better the chance of standing out from the crowd.

Vocally, Woosey in the same space as a young Billy Joel with just a hint of a Lou Reed drawl, and it serves his folk, rock, and blues influenced material well, with the instrumentation nicely separated and some lovely playing from Royal Shakespeare Company’s Head of Music, Bruce O’Neil on piano, in particular.

In terms of material, Desiderata is what you might call ‘smooth’.  It’s an easy listen, but somehow never really gets under the skin.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

RACKHOUSE PILFER  Love And Havoc [Release date 28.03.14]

An Irish six piece, who live perform their own unique takes on songs from Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, Steve Earl and John Hiatt as well as traditional bluegrass songs and originals, Rackhouse Pilfer cook up a storm on their banjo, mandolin and fiddle toting sophomore release of largely self-penned material.

In a toe tapping set, packed with consummate playing  no small wonder they were invited to perform on Tom Jones’ Long Lost Suitcase album, and open for Imelda May – the band bring a subtle Celtic vibe to the increasingly popular Americana genre, and while they’re well capable of ‘toning it down’ as on the mournful ‘Two Oceans’, it’s when the sparks fly that they’re at their most entertaining.

Best enjoyed ‘live’ with a pint or three of Guinness.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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