Country Music People December 2018 - Page 37

GARETH OWEN I’m Out Of This Place  Waltzing Kid Pt 1 / Ribbon Of Sky-Blue Lace / Julie / The Preacher / Marie / Waltzing Kid Pt 2 / Rosalita / Out Of This place / Waltzing Kid: Raise A Glass / Happy With That Producers: Lincolns Grounds & Rob Kelly Self release 45:03 RHYAN SINCLAIR Marshmallow World  1/2 Santa How You Gettin’ In My House / Let The Light In[In The Name Of Christmas] / Winter Wonderland-Marshmallow World / What Christmas Means To Me / Please Come Home For Christmas / O Come O Come Emmanuel Producers: Jason Groves & Rhyan Sinclair Little Haunted Girl Records 20:35 Rhyan Sinclair started her own band, All The Little Pieces, when she was 11-years-old. They played roots-country, rock and blues. However other band members wanted to make rock albums so Rhyan Sinclair departed to launch a country music career. I have a feeling that this Lancastrian can adopt several personas. Why else would this playwright, poet and writer adopt an American accent and take us back decades to tell stories of the Wild West? We have gun toting cowboys, girls called Mary-Jo, and the pain of seeing your heart’s desire wave to you from her departing carriage. Throw in an attractive baritone, and some gentle hokey country tunes, and he’s carried this off with aplomb. The album’s ten self-penned tracks are beautifully arranged, and whilst predominantly acoustic there’s interest and colour added by pedal steel, banjo, piano and, on occasion, some tremendous female backing vocals by SJ Mortimer. From the first few bars you know it is ‘British’ country music with a nostalgic feel that places you in 50s and 60s Country & Western. Lyrically we never get profound though familiar Cowboy Western themes are prevalent as on the title track “And I’m out of here, Where the days taste like dirt, And the air smells of money and lies, And I’m going back where, I can breathe the pure air, And I’ll drown in some sweet lady’s eyes”. Julie (be fair, who’s been christened this since 1972?) reflects the album with a gentle rolling pace, this time with a honky tonk piano backing, that showcases his commanding and expressive voice. The Preacher employs a deep twangy guitar with pedal steel backing to provide the unlikely story of the challenges of bigamy. From the little I know of Evangelist preachers then this may be a true story. Owen signs off with a gravelly Tennessee accent intro to Happy With That that recalls the sentiment of John Prine’s The Other Side Of The Room. A banjo plucks cheerfully whilst he tells of a lazy and simple life, and a rousing good ol’ boys chorus chimes in sharing his philosophic musings. An amusing way to end! Repeated plays will win you over. Delightful. Tony Ives Her new Christmas EP is the singer’s second solo release, following Barnstormer, which came out last summer. The first two songs are written by Rhyan Sinclair. The first one, the witty, Santa How You Gettin’ In My House may get some folks talking about Dolly Parton. However anyone who listens to this entire album will realise that Rhyan Sinclair is no clone, she is an important singer-songwriter in her own right. Sinclair has a very fine country voice and Santa How You Gettin’ In My House features an engaging melody plus a steel guitar and has a good arrangement. The other original song, Let The Light In (In The Name Of Christmas) begins with a strumming acoustic guitar. It develops into a high quality ballad with an orchestra and backing singers. The song is a kind of Christmas plea for us to put our differences aside and, “Let The Light In”. The other four tracks on the EP are very well chosen cover versions and prove that Rhyan Sinclair has superb musical taste. The medley of Winter Wonderland and Marshmallow World works a treat. The best known version of Marshmallow World remains the one by Dean Martin. Winter Wonderland has been recorded many times (I am reviewing two this month!). Rhyan Sinclair slots the two songs together like two jigsaw puzzle pieces.The whole medley is a country music treat. Back in 1967 - a key year in music history - Stevie Wonder recorded What Christmas Means To Me. Rhyan Sinclair’s clever cover version manages to combine country and soul. We even get backing vocals as we heard in the original. On to 1978 when we had The Eagles’ version of Please Come Home For Christmas. The original dates back to 1960 and Charles Brown. Rhyan Sinclair’s version is closer to that of The Eagles. The new version has a strong vocal capturing the spirit of the song. Nice steel guitar as well. Rhyan Sinclair’s wonderful EP ends on a high.O Come O Come Emmanuel is a hymn dating back to 1861. The new version is alive with atmosphere, a quality arrangement and a mature vocal from the teenage singer. What a track! Rhyan Sinclair’s brave decision to leave the band she created was clearly correct. Here is a very young artist with massive talent as a country music singer-songwriter. Marshmallow World is one of the very best Christmas country releases of recent years. Actually 2018 is a very fine year for country Christmas albums (see other reviews in this issue). Rhyan Sinclair will probably go on to be a major country singer - all the signs are here. Buy. This. Record. Paul Riley DECEMBER 2018 - cmp 37