Desertion Records [Release date 08.03.19]
There is something endearingly conversational about the music of Jimmy’s Cousin. The new album from the Irish originating jazz man, ‘Waxwings’, is an exercise in raconteur style. Singer-songwriter Ian Dosdson aka Jimmy’s Cousin opens the album with ‘Astor & 8th’, a vivid story about a dreamy trip to New York.
The arrangements by Dave Keary, whose credits include working with Taj Mahal, Bobby Womack and Van Morrison, have a relaxed lounge-vibe. If there were any overdubs they’re certainly not discernable, as the whole atmosphere feels very organic. Occasionally punctuating the mellow is some showy musicianship, like the bluesy electric guitar from Keary on ‘I Do’ and Stevie Wonder-like harmonica on ‘Love Is Only for Fools’.
Well worn themes of heartbreak are chewed over on album standout, ‘I’ll Never Love’. This wistful look back on a failed relationship owes a debt sonically to ‘Bennie and The Jets’, which is no bad thing. Dodson’s vocal really soars here as his belt increases across the song. The voice of Jimmy’s Cousin makes a nice juxtaposition against his own folk-y lyrics, sounding like a crisp crooner somewhere between Bryan Ferry and Gregory Porter.
Titular song ‘Waxwings’, presumably referencing the wings of Icarus in Greek mythology, captures the euphoria of being in an all encompassing relationship. “Waxwings carried us along and up to the clouds”. The poetic lyrics continue over onto ‘Look at Me Now’, a plaintive reminder from one lover to another that they are there; “I’m just standing here watching for you, I’ll be there to rescue you”. Producer Dave Keary weaves in some subtle string arrangements that lend a cinematic quality.
Press material for the album states that Jimmy’s Cousin took thirty years to get round to this album because Dodson “wanted to wait till I had something to say”. On the strength of this release, hopefully he won’t take that long for the follow up! ***
Review by Phillip Beamon
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