Reviews roundup – Erin Hill vs. Terra Lightfoot vs. Astrakhan vs. Gary Wilson
Erin Hill plays the harp. And there are eighteen songs on this album. Which is a lot of harp. Luckily for us, she also sings. And very well she does it too.
Granted, it’s not going to be my first call for some musical entertainment but it’s the sort of thing you can dip into for a few tunes and come out smiling on the other side. It’s certainly an eclectic choice of material with arrangements of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work,” Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm,” Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Radiohead’s “Black Star,” as well as oldies such as “La Vie En Rose,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Come Fly With Me”. Bung in a couple of classical arias and visits to Lady Gaga, Tim Buckley, Alicia Keys, Roxy Music, Rihanna and others, and it’s a wide reaching affair.
There is no doubting her musical prowess and this should appeal to more than just the die hard harp fans out there.
Every Time My Mind Runs Wild
The Canadian colonies now to catch up with Terra Lightfoot, a roots/country performer who has shared stages with the likes of Gordon Lightfoot (no relation), Emmylou Harris, and Albert Lee, as well as being a member of country band the Dinner Belles whilst having a concurrent solo career.
And it’s a good one which heads for the Band / country rock crossover meets acoustic folkie. She has a strong and listenable voice and there’s a fair number of good tunes in here as well. The lead off single “Lily’s Fair” is a good sampler of what is on offer, but when she slows thing down as she does on “Emerald Eyes” and “NFB, she shows herself to be just as capable in that world.
There is a confidence to the music that shows she is perfectly aware of her strengths as a singer and musician, and this album should serve notice to people who’ve missed out on her talents to date.
Reward In Purpose
We’re still in the Canadian colonies but this time around things have got a whole lot louder. Astrakhan were formed back in 2012 but have just reached the stage of releasing their first full length album.
And they really do llike Mastodon as they crush their way through a set of post-metal monsters. Dustan Toth — vocals/bass, Adam Young — guitar, Rob Zawistowski — vocals/guitar and Jerome Brewer — drums certainly know how to mine their way through their particular brand of rawk with big riffs and off kilter arrangements.
For sure there is nothing here that fans of Opeth, Mastodon, Baroness and their ilk won’t have heard before but when they let rip on tunes like “Omajod”, “Turgid Waters” amd “Hand On The Stone” you can’t doubt their abilities. It’s a good start and hopefully they can use this as a jumping off point ot bigger things.
It’s Friday Night With Gary Wilson
I’m old and I’ve been round the block a few times so there aren’t many things in life that can still send a shiver up my spine. Giraffes and mimes, definitely. But the phrase “experimental musician / performance artist” is another one of them.
Gary Wilson is the culprit here and it seems that he is best known for his 1977 album ‘You Think You Really Know Me’. Nope, me neither. Rather sensibly he then retired from recording and performing concerts before gaining a cult following during the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in him becoming musically active again in the 2000s.
Now what we need to do is find that “cult following” and punish them. They’re the sort of people who made Captain Beefheart a “thing”, and as this album careers through off kilter abominations like “”I’m Going To Take You To A Thousand Dreams” and “Like A Scene From A Movie Long Ago you can’t help but think that this is an experiment in killing music. Which is a very bad thing indeed.