It’s the rare occasion this blog features a review of a CD, but with the gracious gift of a new release from Wood, Wire & Words who are based in Hampshire, United Kingdom, an honest appraisal seemed the perfect way to say thank you. It is also an opportunity to write a review apart from the cookie cutter style we’re subjected to regularly from leading publications and blogs.
Listening to music is a big part of life for most of us. Those who grew up on music we love as an art form make time to truly listen. The music never becomes a backdrop or wallpaper in the design of our lives because it is a living breathing thing and deserves our undivided attention.
One particularly stormy afternoon I needed to be in the kitchen standing over a few one – pot creations, so the music came with me, and David Rozzell, Clare Rozzell, and Pat Francis kept me company with 12 new songs from their release, It’s A Barbecue Day. Their music was at the forefront, while I occasionally checked on the evening meal. This became a very intimate situation listening to incredible harmonies, expertly crafted songs, and fine acoustic musicianship.
David is the lead vocalist on guitar, and his voice is captivating. There were deja vu moments in his phrasing and intonation that I couldn’t place right away, but finally it struck me he sounds quite like classic Gordon Lightfoot in many ways. He has a moving, honest expression engendering a true listening experience. One wants and needs to hear the story he’s telling. Clare complements him with beautifully rich harmonies as she keeps things grounded on double bass, and Pat adds all the necessary colors on dobro and mandolin.
Perhaps it was the mood of the day with high winds and rain in the background that drew me especially to those songs in minor keys like “Broken Soldier,” Green Fields,” and “This River Runs Deep.” Given to listening on a different day, I’m still drawn to those deeply smoky folk tunes.
Other songs are more upbeat and bright in notation, but still styled from the same influential cloth the United Kingdom is known for throughout Americana and bluegrass circles. This is where the sound originated before immigrants took their folk traditions and instruments to other parts of the world.
To the degree it’s difficult for anyone to separate what is genuinely Americana — and bluegrass is typically classified more on instrumentation — Wood, Wire & Words stand squarely on the folk tradition, and what a great place to take a stand at this moment in time.
As music styles roll around and around fitting into various slots like a pinball machine, all music emerges from traditions of those that came before us. Folk music should have our highest level of respect for life affirming qualities that are real and true to every living soul.
When listening to this CD you’re suddenly reminded of all that is real and true in you.
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