Here’s Kevin Bryan with his latest batch of record reviews.
Stephen Fearing - Every Soul’s A Sailor (LowdenProud Records). Stephen Fearing’s beguiling gift for mellow instrospection is given free rein in the gifted Canadian singer-songwriter’s latest skilfully crafted creation. Vancouver-born Fearing was a founder member of alternative country super-group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings but he’s also maintained a richly rewarding solo career for the past two decades or so. The contents of Every Soul’s A Sailor run the gamut from the haunting Gone But Not Forgotten and Red Lights In The Rain to his sarcastic critique of Trump-style demagoguery, Blowhard Nation.
Kent Nagano - Danse Macabre (Decca Records). The latest vehicle for the talents of conductor Nagano and the massed ranks of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra finds them applying their technical artistry to a selection of pieces from the spookier end of the classical spectrum. Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mussorgsky’s Night On The Bare Mountain and the Jonathan Creek theme, Saint-Saens’s Danse Macabre, are given an airing alongside lesser known but
equally compelling compositions from Mily Balakirev and Charles Ives, whose playful evocation of the atmosphere of a Halloween bonfire is well worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.
Wild Turkey - Stealer Of Years (Talking Elephant). Jethro Tull founder member Glenn Cornick formed Wild Turkey in the aftermath of his departure from Tull’s line-up in 1970, but it proved to be a fairly short-lived venture and they went their separate ways after recording just two albums together. Cornick and vocalist Gary Pickford-Hopkins were invited to reform the band more than two decades later and Stealer of Years emerged as an excellent comeback set, originally released in 1996 and blessed with some inspired guitar work from Tweke Lewis on stand-out tracks such as Anthem of the Universe and the instrumental closer, Klemintina.
The Ashley Hutchings All Stars - As You Like It (Talking Elephant). Bassist, vocalist and songwriter Ashley Hutchings has worked with many of the leading lights of British folk and roots music during the course of his lengthy career, including highly productive stints with Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band. This richly rewarding set was captured live at various venues in England and Wales during June 1988, and found Ashley and his gifted cohorts tackling a set list including gems such as Richard Thompson’s Cajun Woman and the self-penned Pat Nevin Flew in on a Wing and a Prayer with predictably compelling results.