Flyinshoes Review

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One hour of uncomplicated pleasure from John Lilly, a consummate musician who seems way too nice to be in show business. There's no edge, no inflated ego, just a finely honed skill as musician, performer and writer. Listening to him on this disc, or seeing him on stage, is like seeing your favourite uncle good-humouredly take off his working jacket, pick up his guitar and play a few well-loved songs to while away the evening. There's a generosity of spirit in his performance and a really deep love for the music he plays.


Taking Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams as his starting point, John delves into the roots of mountain/country music, plays old tunes and songs that are familiar without necessarily being standards and then mixes in his own songs which generally sound like old standards themselves. He operates in what might be called the Heritage Folk scene, where generally much is made of faithfulness to the tradition and there's a lot of po-faced seriousness about, but John Lilly never falls into that. His warmth, sincerity and, above all, his genial good humour make him an entirely likeable performer. A couple of his own songs featured here are typical of his gentle humour: A Little Yodel Goes A Long Way and Roadkill are both going to make you chuckle. 'Roadkill's' pay-off line is 'I'm the roadkill on the highway of your heart' - wry, rather than bitter, at the end of the affair.
The range of his enthusiasm takes him from Jimmie Rodgers and country blues through the mountain folk tradition right up to where Hank Williams morphs into rock and roll but when he takes Rod Stewart's Gasoline Alley and makes it sound like a jig for a dirt floor barn dance, then you know this man's ears are wide open for a good tune, wherever it comes from. His guitar and mandolin playing manages to be precise and relaxed at the same time, an easy pleasure on the ear.


Live on Red Barn Radio seems to be an hour of transmission unedited which means we get all the intro's, a bit of interview between the presenter and John Lilly and all the station blurb, including thanks to the sponsors. Well I don't mind a bit of atmosphere for context but you really don't need all of that everytime you hear the disc; still, it's a minor complaint. John Lilly is as fine an exponent of old-time country music as you'll find and this collection of songs old and new is a fine way to make his acquaintance.

John Davy




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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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