EP review: ROLY WITHEROW – Down By The River

ROLY WITHEROW – Down By The River

Website [Release date 03.12.21]

Roly Witherow is a prolific and acclaimed composer in the world of film, theatre and TV. Roly released his debut album ‘Ballads and Yarns’ in 2020, which he now follows-up with this new five-track EP.

Roly Witherow: “This new EP is a very new direction for me…this new album has a ’back to basics’ approach, focussing on the song itself in its most minimal form. The vast majority of the songs are for just acoustic guitar and voice, and the recordings have a very live feel to them, realised in large part by the expert production of Joe Garcia of Joe’s Garage, in Bristol.”

Listening to this Richard Thompson springs to mind, particularly Thompson’s acoustic albums where he reworked some of his classic songs. The single ‘The Bird and the Frog’ being a prime example, where Roly’s vocals take centre stage for the listener.

He’s joined by Nick Hart of the Nest Collective who provides backing vocals on ‘Johnny’s Gone to Hilo’, a good mix of voices and an EP highlight. As with any good folk album rooted in tradition there is a murder to be told, this time on ‘The Three Butchers’. Roly really gives the song menace as it progresses to the part of the song where the murder is committed.

‘Ernie’s Song’ is dedicated to his son and this finishes the EP on a positive note.

Folk music is a crowded field, especially in the solo/singer songwriter arena, yet Roly Witherow has that certain something that captures a listener’s attention. Worthy of a listen that’s for sure. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)

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