Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet Williams

You can hear a warm analogue hiss on the first few seconds of this recording if you're listen to this album on headphones. The kind of warm comforting sound that you find on home or field recordings. It’s a sound that studio engineers fear and may spend wasted hours and money trying to remove. This hiss is not a bad thing, in fact it’s the very opposite. It’s reassuring and comforting it makes this recording sound that extra little bit real. You really get the feeling that brother and sister duo Ben and Sadie Warner are both present in the room with you. It’s a very odd, but not an unpleasant, experience.
We are greeted by the opening track Falling Apart. Vocally, slightly disjointed and out of phase harmonised voices accompanied by a gentle touch upon a plucked nylon string acoustic guitar. All served with subtlety and a perfectly understated delivery.
There are so many elements of classic English folk music mysticism alive here. There is a blend of male and female vocal harmonies, which are not over done or milked, and no obvious choices of folkish vocal pitches or tonal values. The sparseness of the guitar works well with the structure of these beautifully and basically crafted songs. The use of deadpan percussion with a mere hint of flute and electronica on tracks such as The Moon You and I, Where to Begin and Icarus and the Sun all bring to mind pagan ritual dances and memories of 1970’s Hammer House of Horror movie scores. The whole work is surreal and dream like.
If I must be critical on a couple of points, some of the lyrics do tend to air on the side of fist attempts at heart felt 6th form college love poetry. But even this can be excused, as it gives a twist of playful innocence.
I’m not sure if this is an official release for Sweet Williams, so lets refer to is as a CDR release. With that in mind the production is on the agricultural side of recording. I mean this as a complement to its minimalist approach to recording techniques. However, with a bit more loving care at the mastering stage this could have made the difference between a potential folk classic and an eight track recording. This still doesn't take anything away from its beautiful resonance. A truly inspired body of work.

To find out more information on Sweet Williams and to get your copy of this CDR visit their myspace site.

Reviewer: DE Powell

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Douglas E Powell needs a drummer

Twister Valley Records stable mate Douglas E Powell is on the search for a drummer.
Douglas is working on album number 3 and feels the need for some light percussion on the recording sessions and for live work to accompany his folk and alt-country style.
Realistically he's looking in the southwest (UK). Just for logistical reasons but may consider looking further a field if the boots fit.
He used the term 'cocktail kit'. I take this to mean a stripped down drum kit consisting of bass drum, snare and high-hat played with brushes. Almost with a skiffle vibe.
If you are interested or know of anybody who is please contact us via myspace or mail us at twistervalleyre​cords@​gmail.​com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Otis Gibbs plus support from Douglas E Powell, Pilton Devon 3rd Oct

Twister Valley Records stable mate Douglas E Powell was lucky enough to play the support slot for the legendary American folk singer Otis Gibbs at the Piton Village Hall, Devon, last Saturday night, 3rd October.
The sell out audience were first treated to a set of brand new material and some older classic songs from folk singer Douglas E Powell. Douglas was joined on stage for three songs by life long friend and bass player Andrew 'Tizz' Tizzard. Could this new combination of harmonized vocals, electric bass and acoustic guitar herald a new direction for Douglas? We will just have to wait and see.

Headliner Otis Gibbs is a master of the song link. Every tune masterfully entwined with the next with tales from his travels around the worlds stages, drinking holes and anti-war demos. Often tongue planted firmly within his cheek and sometimes with his political and religious views proudly on show. His songs where delivered to an appreciative audience who sat in total silence for over an hour and a half, breaking their silence only to applaud and occasionally heckle in the right places. This is all part of an Otis Gibbs live experience.
Promoters Matt and Shaun tell us that they have a full rosta of artists from all over the globe lined up to play at the the hall in the coming months. A great boost for the Devon live music scene.

Otis Gibbs new album Grandpa Walked A Picket Line (Wanamaker Recoding Company) is available to buy from