North Star Music [04.09.20]
We often miss the big picture whilst staring directly at one aspect. In that way we may see a particularly bright colour whilst failing to notice the multitude of hues that also make up the rest of the tapestry that surrounds it. The glory is often in the details. It’s very much the same when we look at the music scene. The big acts often get the attention and the glory but there’s often more craft and soul in the myriad of solo musicians and smaller bands that provide grass roots entertainment than in the corporate behemoths.
Rich Young is the perfect illustration of this very point. A well-travelled troubadour, he’s been perfecting his craft for years and has played with some of the biggest and most diverse names in the business. Well respected amongst his peers, here is a man whose craft has been refined over years playing everywhere from the biggest of concert halls to the smallest of pubs and can often be seen busking for the sheer joy of the music.
You can tell from this, his latest album, that here is a man who is open to ideas and inspiration from many sources as the tones shift from one style to another. That may appear that this is an artist looking for a sound but there is a glue that holds this all together in that there is a spark and a quality that is undeniable and all run through with Young’s distinctive, warm and lived-in tones.
Gladly, whilst the release is double album length, it has enough variety to never get stuck in one groove, the material not just different but full of lovely little touches as the singer and songwriter brings a great supporting cast of musicians around him. From the blue collar folk tinted rock of opener ‘A Great Tomorrow’, the lively Americana with a hint of rockabilly of ‘Chicken Boy’ and onto ‘Crazies’ gloriously laid-back sophistication that are dashes of added colour. Pedal steel, mandolin, concertina, clarinet and female backing vocals all add to the rich palate.
Alongside the more earthy elements of urban folk, rock and blues ably displayed on ‘Shape of Love’, ‘The Other Side of the World’ and Street of Miracles’, there are such treats as the 1980’s New Wave pop feel of ‘Let Her Go, Let Her Run’ and the gently atmospheric ‘ Outsider’. The eighteen tracks take the listener on a journey across heartlands and barren landscapes teeming with characters, the whole a reminder of what is possible when you have some seriously heavyweight songwriting talent at work.
With the albums diverse patina and brilliant production, it would be difficult to pin down any particular track as a highlight but, if pressed, the skyscraping heights of ‘Dominic’s Church’, ‘Everyday’s A Sunday Now’s multi-faceted charm, the grand, piano driven ‘Heart’ and gorgeous ‘Gramercy Blues’ must be leading contenders. All considered, this collection is a masterclass in what can be achieved on a tighter budget than others may have access to when you have the right people with the right heart. It shines in all the right places and for the right reasons. This is soul. ****1/2
Review by Paul Monkhouse
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 March 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GARY HUGHES Decades (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 METALITE A Virtual World (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 KAT DANSER One Eye Open (indie)
Power Plays w/c 5 April 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ALTZI Point Of No Return (RA Music)
DIRTY LACES Breathe (Golden Robot Records)
ASHEN MOON Ashen Moon (Golden Robot Records)
ANDREWW Shadow Love (indie)
JORDAN RED Freak Show (indie)
HAYES & Y Empty Orchestra (indie)
KELSEY BOVEY Another World (indie)
NEPTUNE RAIN We Breathe The Same (indie)
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