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Roy Schneider is another of those fine singer/songwriters who lurk in the long grass beyond the reach of major label interest just waiting for patient hunters of fine music to find him. Well, that's not quite fair; he's been working hard to make the world aware of this new album (pronounced Er Like Duh) and is just embarking on a huge tour across the states to spread his message.

Well as far as this album goes, I'd make Roy Schneider one part child of the 60s and one part Huck Finn; his songs are full of sentiments about being free and easy and showing your love for the world but there's also a whole stack of boyish enthusiasm for the simple pleasures to be had mucking around in the country. The album opens with a song about the joys of cruising around the ' South in the Summertime' and introduces a lot of the elements that make this a very fine piece of work. Roy himself plays most things stringed and his picking style combines an easy flow with a joyful vigour - he sounds like he's having lots of fun making those strings dance for him and the sense of fun is infectious. To help him along, he's got some very fine players, most especially Keven Aland on fiddle and Charlie McCoy on harmonica. Keven Aland plays a very fine, smooth folk style that heads in the direction of Hot Club style at times and it's a joy to hear his contributions throughout this album.

Roy's got a fine singing voice, too; he's able to modulate it to suit the material and doesn't sound like he's stretching too far on the higher or longer notes. There's quite a soulful quality in there that comes over quite often and there's a warmth that's ever present. He takes a break from singing for one instrumental track, Dancing With a Horse, and this is really a showcase for some fine guitar picking as the horse dances along with a joyful spring in it's step. There's just a hint of a 60's vibe going on here - a little Mason Williams, perhaps - and Roy himself provides a little flute in the arrangement - a nod to his Jethro Tull enthusiasm he says.

The album closes with a cover of a Greatful Dead song, Brokedown Palace. I don't know the original but I like the stately nature of this performance, it feels true to the spirit of the song. Erleichda is a value for money collection, the most part of an hour of some very fine playing and some realy nice songs. There's quite a summery feel to the whole thing but then the guy is based in Florida - I guess he's not going to write about ice storms much.
John Davy

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April 2018

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