Flyinshoes Review

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ED ROMANOFF —THE ORPHAN KING (Pinerock Records)

www.pinerockrecords.com

Americana singer-songwriter Ed Romanoff is based in Woodstock, New York State, and is a wordy storyteller. A man who has embraced influences of the best (he has attended workshops by Darrell Scott, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Mary Gauthier) his genre has to offer. On listening to some track, my mind strayed to the likes of John Prine and Eric Taylor.   

The Orphan Kind was produced by near neighbour, Simon Felice (a busy man)and recorded just a few miles down the road at his barn studio in Palenville, New York. Players on the album to go with Ramanoff’s guitar and lead vocals include Felice on drums, Larry Campbell (electric, bass guitar, mandolin, fiddle, cittern), James Felice (keyboards, accordian, harmonium, vocals), Cindy Cashdollar (steel guitar, lap steel) and Lee Nadel (bass) and others. Never over bearing, I believe the production brings near the best out of Romanoff. I say near best because the record does on occasions become a little predictable (no bad thing when predictable is as good as it is here), in need of a little variation to suit his songs. Then again it could be the balance of songs could have been better selected!   

Cindy Mizelle's (E-Street Band) lends her effective female harmonies on “Less Broken Now” and “Coronation Blues” while Campbell’s wife, Teresa Williams puts her talent to use on the artful “The Orphan King” and has an equally pleasing effect on the sublime pedal steel warmed “Elephant Man”. John Prine-esque! Yes, it is that good. Sounds like Prine of old. I had to pinch myself to check it wasn’t the great master. “The Orphan King” is a co-write with Gauthier, and when it comes to reflective tales “I’ll Remember You” is, in comparison to most tracks it might be short, but nevertheless impressionable. Likewise can be said of the soul leaning all-fired up “The Night Is A Woman”.  

Getting back to Taylor-esque work, “Miss Worby’s Ghost” has all the attributes. The unique feel and shaping of a song intact. Brilliant! Romanoff has learnt his lessons well. His eye for detail, and I am not only talking lyrics but little muses here and there. As he weaves his finely spun tapestry with astute guile and grace. 

While Romanoff penned most of the songs, solo, there’s a handful of co-writes with Crit Harmon; one such song is the wonderful “The Ballad Of Willie Sutton”, and with it enjoying the likes of jaunty simple delight “Without You” (that has Milk Carton Kid, Kenneth Pattengale shine on vocals, guitar and mandolin) and with some of the most assured lead vocals on the record, break-up song “Leavin’ With Someone Else”. Followed by the likewise compelling, and arguably stronger still “Less Broken Now”, steeped in fiddle, pedal steel, mandolin and killer harmony vocals it near blows the lid off. Such is the album, Romanoff is forever coming through with unexpected highs and in mystical ode “The Ballad Of Willie Sutton”, and on releasing some of the tension love ballad “Blue Boulevard (Na Na Na)”. Warmed in three part harmonies, harmonium and classic fiddle (Campbell) he could not have been given better support. For more fiddle (and this occasion you can add cittern and Brian Morrisey’s Bodhran) check out another co-write with Harmon “A Golden Crown”. 

Sombre ode “Lost And Gone” is part artful, part soul searching, and part mystical as he taps into people’s fear of war and faith things will be okay roll into one. “Coronation Blues” is a gritty, forceful song that many an act would be justly proud in the world of the Americana singer-songwriter close an album. 

            Maurice Hope         

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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