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Rarely, have I heard an album open in such a positive and addictive fashion as heard on “Mary Rest Your Head”. For Campbell & The Open Rotation deliver this exquisite piece on their latest album, and though the song isn’t quite matched they nevertheless come through with an excellent record. 

Based on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Campbell (& Co) come close on “Toxic And Sweet”. This as Fiona MacLeod takes on the role of lead vocalist, and with more tight rhythm and excellent production (Tony Doogan produced the record as he did the group’s second album, Toxic Good Toxic Bad in 2012) it and the harmony vocals wrapped “I’ve Got A Kite” next up, the momentum is nicely carried forth. On using all his songwriting nous as a story-teller and not so much a man able to craft infectious uplifting songs “Winter Late In Spring” has it all; redemption, poetic reflections and music that could not be more sympathetic towards the genuine (and) evocative lyrics. 

More urgent and poppy, “Born To Be Blind” has the unit dive headlong into a the song and more superb driving rhythm; and with “Going Through The Motions” offering a little sax (and pedal steel), and a now standard brisk rhythmic edge Campbell fronts the rocking piece in style. Utilising a more country Americana feel, as acoustic guitar gains space alongside electric lead and a generally full bodied sound “Chasing Dreams” speaks of a beautiful waitress serving his friend and of how she will turn heads, everywhere she might go. Prettier still, there's the gentle stripped back “New Eyes of Gold”, with occasional piano, organ and a more restrained approach his lyrics aren't slow in creating a glowing romantic entry. 

The final three songs of “Circles”, “What We Are Now” and “Ageing Parents” see the album off. First in a slow, sombre based fashion before edging into a shuffling and kind of infectious “What We Are Now” as the band are called into play for the well weighted theme (the lead vocals riving in stylish fashion), and with a sometimes restless jolting even, pop driven playful feel the ditty is set to lift one’s mood in an instant. 

                                                                                       Maurice Hope 

    Maurice Hope 

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April 2018

Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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