Country Music People March 2019 - Page 40

albumreviews WARD THOMAS Restless Minds  No Filter / Lie Like Me / One More Goodbye / It’s Not Just Me / Ain’t That Easy / Rather Be Breathing / Hopeless / Never Know / Same Love / Changing / No Fooling Me / I Believe in You / Little Girl Sorrow / Deepest You / This Too Will Pass Producers: Martin Terefe & Jimmy Hogarth WTW Music/Sony Music 49:40 I don’t think Ward Thomas like CMP very much. Purely because we had the audacity to suggest that their last record was more pop than country. If they didn’t like us then they’re going to really hate us J.J. CALE Stay Around  Lights Down Low / Chasing You / Winter Snow / Stay Around / Tell You About Her / Oh My My / My Baby Blues / Girl Of Mine / Go Downtown / If We Try / Tell Daddy / Wish You Were Here / Long About Sundown / Maria / Don’t Call Me Joe Producer: J.J. Cale Because 49.14 J.J. Cale is regarded perhaps unfairly as the poor man’s Eric Clapton but Clapton has always acknowledged his debt to him. They have recorded 40 cmp - MARCH 2019 now. For their third album the twins from Hampshire have supposedly ‘grown up’ but musically they seem to be targeting teenage girls. Several tracks here address the whole self-image on social media issue which has recently made headlines, but to be honest I was finding it extremely difficult to listen to or even care about any of the lyrics because of the all encompassing, over the top, pop production. Sure, I suppose there might be a couple of tracks here which are a bit more restrained and people who know nothing about country might suggest “have a country twang” like It’s Not Just Me and No Fooling Me. However, it’s nothing like the twang of a telecaster on a Bakersfield record. It would appear now that Ward Thomas just used the whole country genre as a stepping stone to a pop career and they seem to have got their wish. Now they can hang out with Paloma Faith and Ed Sheeran saying how they’ve embraced the pop side of things which they’ve talked about in mainstream press interviews. There really is nothing to distinguish this from any Little Mix record I’ve heard. The annoying thing is that there are a whole bunch of people out there that will think that this actually is country music and Bob Harris would appear to be one of them. I think it’s time we left them to their pop careers. Duncan Warwick together and Eric has recorded his songs After Midnight, Cocaine and Call Me The Breeze amongst others. When J.J. Cale died in 2013 at the age of 74, he had made 15 albums and had only minor hits. He rarely toured and so not many people had got to see him. His widow, Christine Lakeland, is looking after his legacy and she explains that Cale often recorded more songs than he needed for an album, so there is plenty of unheard material around. Stay Around, the first project, features 15 new tracks. All the songs are written by Cale apart from My Baby Blues, which was written by Lakeland when they met in 1977. I liked the shuffle of Lights Down Low and the chugging beat of Chasing You but overall I found his style too laid back. There is so little expression in his voice and at times he could just as easily be reciting a shopping list. Instead of 15 songs, this often feels like one long single. However, there is a lovely acoustic track Oh My My stuck in the middle which is easily the best thing on the album. In terms of genre, this is more Americana and rock than country but there is some fine guitar playing which will delight country enthusiasts: the introduction to the title track is magical. Spencer Leigh MERCURY REV Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited  Okolona River Bottom Band (w/ Norah Jones) / Big Boss Man (w/ Hope Sandoval] / Reunion (w/ Rachel Goswell) / Parchman Farm (w/ Carice Van Houten) / Mornin’ Glory (w/ Laetitia Sadier) / Sermon (w/ Margo Price) / Tobacco Road (w/ Susanne Sundfor) / Penduli Pendulum (w/ Vashti Bunyan and Kaela Sinclair) / Jessye Lisabeth (w/ Phoebe Bridgers) / Refractions (w/ Marissa Nadler) / Courtyard (w/ Beth Orton) / Ode To Billie Joe (w/ Lucinda Williams) Producer: Mercury Rev Bella Union 42:33 So what are Mercury Rev, one of America’s best rock bands of the last twenty years or so doing in CMP magazine? Well Mercury Rev’s new release is an interesting re-make of Bobbie Gentry’s classic 1968 country- soul LP, The Delta Sweete. Every track features a guest female singer and Mercury Rev provide the backing tracks. The two guests of most interest to readers are probably Margo Price and Lucinda Williams. The new release misses out the Louisiana Man track from the original but includes Ode To Billie Joe which was not on the original album - more about that latter in the review. Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 album did not sell well at the time but now has