THE WILLOWS Through the Wild [Release date 30.11.18]

‘Through the Wild’ is the third album from the Cambridge folk band the Willows, who have picked up praise from the likes of Bob Harris and Mike Harding. Listening to this album its not hard to see why, as the Willows follow the folk rock path of the likes of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

The singing of Jade Rhiannon Ward is perfect for the songs on here, nearly all written by the band, covering loss ‘Better Days’ or the Americana flavoured ‘Honest Man’, featuring the banjo playing of her husband Cliff Ward.

The drums and percussion playing of Evan Carson is mesmerising, be it on ‘Pearl Hart’ or ‘Gog Magog’, a fast paced tune based on the mythical hills of the same name. Carson is also a member of Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys, who seem to be the ‘go to’ set of musicians as the various band members pop up on a fair few folk albums released in the past couple of years.

The Willows have produced a wonderful piece of folk music, that recalls the past of bands like early Fairport whilst having their own unique sound. A marvellous listen from start to finish. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

ME AND MY FRIENDS Look Up Split Shift [Release date 06.12.18]

Me and My Friends are a five piece consisting of Emma Coleman (cello, vocals), James Grunwell (bass), Fred Harper (drums, percussion), Sam Murray (clarinet, vocals) and Nick Rasle (vocals, guitar). Their sound mixes folk with West African beats adding in a little soul and reggae.

Like the happy cartoon album cover, the music contained within is bright and light, with ‘High As The Sun’ a stand out, cleverly mixing cello and clarinet as the lead instruments. The instrumental ‘Look Up’ would brighten any mood, however the jazzy/reggae flavours elsewhere on the album are not this reviewer’s musical bag.

Me and My Friends are undoubtedly talented and if you need a little folk with a reggae and West African lilt to it, look no further. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

JEROME MAZZA Outlaw Son Escape Music [Release date 23.11.18]

Jerome Mazza came to prominence with Christian melodic rockers Angelica (their back catalogue is well worth tracking down) and more recently appearing on former Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh’s excellent ‘Black Butterfly’ album released last year. The same musicians who appeared on that album back Jerome on this album, including Tommy Denander and FM’s Steve Overland, who’s distinctive vocals add greatly the backing vocals sound.

Jerome says he is heavily influenced by Kansas and you can certainly hear that on ‘Song For The People’ and ‘Streets On Fire’, the latter sounds uncannily like Steve Walsh singing at times. Elsewhere, ‘Neverland’ recalls Nelson and Harem Scarem, good quality, fast paced melodic/pop rock . The ballad ‘Undercover Love’ recalls the Sign or a Mike Slamer produced album – the ‘Slamer sound’ does pop-up throughout the course of the album.

High quality melodic rock worthy of a listen, even more so if you hanker after 80′s era Kansas as you will doubtless love ‘Outlaw Son’. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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