February 4 2018 is the 1st International House Concert Day, The European House Concert Hub and FSR are celebrating by organising the 1st International House Concert Festival. Talk to Rob Ellen if you would like to be involved.

 

Flyinshoes Review

Welcome to FSR our Roots Music Reviewers & Pod/broadcasters Community

Presenting Davy Cowan's "Little Town" our 2017  Christmas Song

Merry Christmas (& a guid New Year) from Medicine Music.

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Rob Ellen

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http://www.willardgrantconspiracy.com/

  Such is the strength of the signature sound forged by Willard Grant Conspiracy that it only takes a few spare notes in the instrumental introduction to Ghost Republic for long-standing afficionadoes to know exactly where they are. Two musical voices, guitar and piano, pinpoint two ends of the WGC scale, beauty running side by side with disquiet. A few bars in, David Michael Curry’s viola (could be cello, I think – no details from Loose Records on anything much to do with this record) arrives on the scene, reinforcing the unique WGC vibe in his own, distinct style; notes slide disconcertingly into each other, the mood shifting slightly from moment to moment, expressing eloquently the complexity of human experience.

   Ghost Republic sees Willard Grant Conspiracy reduced to two core members, Robert Fisher and David Michael Curry, and there are places on this album where the music is stripped down to a real two-hander, the guitar of one man conducting a negotiation with the viola of the other. Mostly though, the two guys have laid down extra tracks as they construct spare but spooky landscapes appropriate to the subject matter in hand. The subject matter is the “ghost” town of Bodie high in the Sierras in California; a place with hot summers and snow-laden winters, Bodie was a boomtown in the goldrush of the late 19th century that partially survived into the mid-20th century. It was abandoned in Marie Celeste style, the ordinary stuff of everyday life left in some of the remaining buildings. It has been in government protection for the last half century as a monument, and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Ghost Republic is WGC’s contribution to a collaborative poetry project around the subject and I guess the whole idea of the ghost town that was once brimming with gold, thriving in the teeth of one of the harshest environments to be found, falls right in with what I perceive to be the core of WGC’s work over the years – which is, to show in stark relief the battle that all human beings face in some measure, the battle to find beauty and purpose in the daily grind of life.

      As ever with this band, you’re not in for an easy listen. Harsh, white noise stabs on the electric guitar have their place alongside moments of almost painful, spare beauty, whilst Robert Fisher’s voice can sound like The Grim Reaper paying a courtesy call or like the ultimately reassuring older brother, calm and steady. David Michael Curry puts in a vocal appearance on his own song, Piece of Pie, which kind of comes as light relief, if only because of the higher vocal register. Willard Grant Conspiracy have been known to produce the occasional “pop” song, something easy on the ear that’ll sucker you in, but there’s none of that here. Rather, there seems to be a distillation of all that has made this band so fascinating over the last fifteen years or so, an intelligent grubbing under the smooth surfaces of life to find out what’s really going on. One of their very best, I would say.

Not too much in the way of live footage or the new material that I could find on youtube but the clip below gives you a fair flavour of this band. 

John Davy

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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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