Flyinshoes Review

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It’s coming to something when it’s a Norwegian artist who comes up with one of the most compelling examples of Americana that I’ve heard this year.  I say “Americana”, but that is only one tag that fits this rich piece of work. “Folk” would fit as well, but lyrically and musically Kreg is drawing from a broad range of influences and the character of his music is strongly flavoured by his distinctive, soulful voice.  He reminds me of a few people but I guess Ray Lamontagne might be the closest. The album was recorded in Norway with the help of a warmly empathic band of Norwegian musicians; acoustic guitar is to the fore, with piano featuring strongly as well. The sound is warm and intimate, inviting you to sit back and enter his world, comforted by a sound that wraps around you soothingly. In fact, there’s one killer tune here that is vaguely reminiscent of the more produced end of early 70’s folk revival – Renaissance maybe, or someone of that ilk. Half-Baked News features a gorgeous little tune picked out on the acoustic guitar and lovely backing vocals from Anne Lise Frøkedal that together make this something of a transcendent piece: put it on repeat for a while just to relish the place it transports you to.

The most interesting thing going on here is Kreg Viesselman’s love affair with lyric writing. It’s an English language affair and I would presume that this is his second language, but he plays with words endlessly, pairing words for their sound-alike characteristics and latching on to any number of cultural reference points – other songs, everyday sayings, the Bible, amongst others – to keep you on the hop as you try to take in the broad reach of his songs. His subject matter is wide-ranging – sometimes personal but not always – and there’s a murder ballad of sorts that is rather disturbing (The Well); it’s a quietly beautiful song, couched in mythological language but containing the seed of doubt that maybe we’re hearing about a real event here. Or maybe I’m missing something. Whatever, his approach is interesting, individual and idiosyncratic. There are times when you can’t easily follow his leaps of imagination and occasions when he phrases things in a slightly odd manner but heck, he’s leagues ahead of most British writers in terms of literacy, and that is very much to be welcomed. If You Lose Your Light is a really attractive piece of work with some strong highlights that’ll bring you back to it for repeated exploration. 

 

John Davy

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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