www.alanwest.co.uk When it comes to country music, the UK has all too often been seen as the poor cousin to those Stateside, but Englishman Alan West with the help of 11-songs from the esteemed pen of fellow Brit, Steven Black alongside ace instrumental support from Sarah Jory (pedal steel, acoustic guitar and harmony vocals) and one-time American west-coast session kingpin and member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band, guitar virtuoso Albert Lee (piano, harmony vocals) and Dean Barnes, John Taylor and Bruno Liger among others ensure the efforts of both the songwriter and musicians gain worthy presentation.
West who has been plying his trade has a fine vocal which is never finer illustrated than when, in the company of Dobro and a slow, shuffling rhythm he tenders the love ballad ‘I’m Not over You’, a song he actually co-wrote with Black and like with the vigour powered ‘How Much Time’ —he underlines his passion and belief in the lyrics he is singing. Like any good act, during the duration of the song he is the character in the song and lives the heartache and joy (whatever may be the case). On an album containing more ace tracks than not. The music strikes home time and time again; and there is a touch of wry humour throw in for good measure as ‘The Big Freeze’ and pedal steel primed ‘Stick Around Awhile’ which likewise possesses some fine electric lead guitar, piano and more open the floodgates! The latter would rank as noteworthy in the repertoire of a good many more established acts on the other side of the big pond such is the relaxed, but firm timbre of his full-bodied vocals.
Of the remainder, ‘Wasilla’ a plaintive love ballad featuring subdued mandolin and fiddle and the southern flavoured Florida sounding (almost) ‘Devil Or An Angel’ make an instant impression; as for the others the painstaking ‘Line In The Sand’ and ‘You’re the One’ a slow, tortured ballad akin to something the late Vern Gosdin would have relished and I am enjoying more with each listen show West well able to sing a good old country hurting song! ‘The Way Of The World’ likewise has some of the same feel (and is that Lee doing more than sing harmony, but near duet vocals on the delightful piece) . Europe may be as far as West’s fame will stretch, but on home territory it will take a good man to better him no matter from where they hail.
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