Album review: PORTER NICKERSON – Bonfire To Ash


Weasel Records [Release date 05.05.17]

When Midwest based guitarist / singer-songwriter Willy Porter started out,  the success of the single ‘Angry Words’ (from his 1994 album Dog-Eared Dream) led to touring slots with the like of Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, The Cranberries, Sting, Paul Simon, and Jeff Beck.
But over the years, and 10 albums in, he’s evolved into a gifted finger-style guitarist focused more on acoustic based songs.

With vocalist Carmen Nickerson having contributed cameos on his last couple of releases, Bonfire To Ash finds him teaming up with her for their first collaborative release, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn).

The result is an easy on the ear album that blends well with the Crosby, Stills & Nash generation of songwriters and performers.  Lead vocals are shared, and the album never settles into a single groove, instead skipping from the jazz infused opener ‘There Goes Rhyming Simon’, ‘Old Red Barn’ and ‘Echo Of Love’, though the mildly funky ‘Plant A Garden’ and ‘In Bloom’, to the plaintive folk/country ‘Living Proof’ and ‘Loving On Her Mind’, and rock ‘n’ roll, Lou Reed influenced, ‘Earthquake’.

A new Buckingham Nicks?  Perhaps not, but Bonfire To Ash is a thoroughly engaging and charming release.  Make your own mind up by checking the album out at or on the duo’s May UK promotional tour.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

Porter Nickerson UK Tour, May 2017
5th May – HEBDEN BRIDGE Wadsworth Community Centre
Billy Lane, Old Town, Near Hebden Bridge, HX7 8RY
Tel: 01422 344458   | Website:
6th May – HUTTON RUDBY, NORTH YORKS Community Hall
Enteropen,  Hutton Rudby,  N Yorkshire,  TS15 0EJ
Tel: 07981 260861 | Website:
7th May – STOKE ON TRENT Fulford Village Hall
Fulford Road, Fulford, Stoke on Trent, ST11 9QT
Tel: 07480 615671   | Website:
10th May  – LONDON The Green Note
106 Parkway, London, NW1 7AN
Tel: 020 7485 9899 | Website:
11th May – EAST GRINSTEAD The Dorset Arms
58 High St, East Grinstead, RH19 3DE.
12th May – CARDIFF Snails Live
Snails Deli, 6 – 8 Beulah Rd, Rhiwbina, Cardiff,  CF14 6LX
Tel: 02920 620415  | Website:
13th May – EXETER St James’ Hall
Mount Pleasant Rd, Exeter, EX4 7AH
Tel: 07508 169049 | Website:
14th May – PENZANCE Acorn Arts Centre
Parade St, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4BU
Tel:  01736 363545 | Website:
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