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RICK SHEA —SWEET BERNARDINE (Tres Pescadores Records)

www.trespescadores.com

 

www.rickshea.com

 

Best know to many for his part in Dave Alvin’s band, The Guilty Men alongside others he has played with, but aside from this Californian Rick Shea is a superb storyteller/recording artists in his own right and the voice to go with it.

 

Comparisons to Tom Russell come to mind on occasions. Such his astute and imagine evoking lyrics, coerced by measured playing of guitar, fiddle, mandolin  and percussion. Plus, there is the small matter of some beautiful accompanying female harmony vocals. All but two songs are his-own, work. The exceptions are well chosen.

First in line you have his workmanlike bluesy leaning version of Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues” followed by album closer, Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Cannonball”. On which he has a surprise guest, the amazing Mary McCaslin. Singer-songwriter McCaslin’s albums of the 1970s and 1980s made a huge impression on me. Her way with a western song better than most anyone who has ever lived! Plus there is the small matter of her innovative workings of music of Lennon and McCarney and The Who (be sure to check out her work on Rounder records). Back to “Streamline Cannonball”, it works perfectly, and McCaslin sounds exactly like she did then! Great. Apologies to Shea for my diversion as I praise Mary, her worth just needed recognising.

 

Shea’s relaxed vocal style coupled with strains of others works superbly. On “Gregory Ray DeFord” there can be heard traces of David Allan Coe as the wistful sound of Dobro, guitar and more female vocals ease through the proceedings. While the late John Stewart comes to mind on the stout, stately presented “Sweet Bernardine”. It is of no coincidence that all I compare and feel his music reminds me are stylists and strong individuals, musically and people who have made their mark.  

 

Equally impressive tales covering some Irish roots as he gives mention to Kerry, Ireland on “John Shea From Kenmare” and the two songs that set the record in motion “Mexicali Train” and “Mariachi Hotel” (a bright ‘n breezy piece which takes the listener on a trip along the Mexican border; as his journey takes him along streets decorated with vendors, sweet accordion and walking through streets where chickens, dogs and ghosts are welcomed on board amidst some tasty acoustic guitar (flat-picking?). If you are in need of a spiritual journey through America's west and beyond go check out Mr Shea's excellent work.  

                                                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.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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