Reviews roundup – John Lyons vs. Wille And The Bandits vs. Polly O’Keary vs Modern Earl
Sing Me Another Song
John Lyons may be Michigan born, but his brand of Americana has been based in Switzerland since 2001. Not that stops him from turning out an excellent collection of songs designed for wide open spaces.
He is an excellent songwriter who specialises in songs of the heart, a universal theme that should draw in the listeners. He kicks things off with the poppy ‘Another Wave’ before getting more rootsy on ‘She’ll Tell You No Lies’. Then it’s time for the simplest song on the record, and my favourite, the acoustic ‘Believe’.
He channels the seventies on ‘Waiting for You’ before the delightful title track. The rest of the album is just as strong, and you could stick your needle in any groove, and find a winner.
A new name to me, but one that should be a lot better known.
WILLE AND THE BANDITS
I assumed with a name like Wille that we were heading off to Scandinavia for some Nordic rock, but instead we’re off to the West Country for some Devonian oo-aaring with Wille Edward (vocals, guitar), Matthew Brooks (bass) and Andrew Naumann (drums).
You may have seen them supporting the likes of Deep Purple, Joe Bonamassa, and Status Quo, and their seventies influenced rock would fit happily with those audiences. They start off with a funky rocker in the shape of ‘Got To Do Better’, an excellent tune that is bettered with the following ‘Gypsy Woman’.
They can turn their hands to a ballad, as they do on ‘Try to Be Yourself’, but are less successful on songs like ‘Still Go Marching In’ and ‘Why’d You Do It’. However, the misses are few and far between.
An excellent release from a potentially Great British band.
POLLY O’KEARY & The Rhythm Method
Now we’re off to America, and the well seasoned performer, Polly O’Keary. She may have been gigging for a lifetime, but this is only her third studio album. The record of new tunes sees some high quality guests along for the ride, including Seattle Slim, The Seattle Horns, Arthur Migliazza and Kevin Sutton.
Ms O’Keary is a fine singer, who is happy across many genres, even if her songs tend to be rooted in the blues. The opening track ‘Fools Gold’, is a blasting intro with some excellent horns lined up on ‘Nothing Left To Say’.
She gets all sixties soulful on ‘Your Honor’, as the hot tunes keep on coming. The album sags slightly towards the end, but she saves the best for last with the gospel stylings of ‘Let Me Be Kind’ showcasing Ms O’Keary and the fabulous band at their peak.
Country rock from Germany? Well, why not. After all, Molly Hatchet remained big over there decades after the rest of the world forgot about them. And it’s a mix of southern and country rock that Modern Earl are offering up.
You won’t be surprised to learn that they write songs about drinking, women and the glories of the South. So that will be Schloss Neuschwanstein then. They’re certainly not reinventing the wheel on tunes like Hell Or High Water’ and, koff, ‘Catfish And Titties’, but they’re certainly enthusiastic.
The vocals need some work, but there is some excellent dobro work sprinkled across the album, and when they let the guitars run riot on tunes like ‘Whiskey On The Table’, then you can see what they’re trying to achieve.
One for a drunken Saturday night down the roadhouse.