Some albums are an immediate love at first listen, but as time passes you start to see holes. Others take time to digest, growers; you learn to love them. Going in blind on this one, I’ve seen the Swindon-based band name floating around locally, favourites at The Tuppenny, Trowbridge’s Pump, and they knocked it out of Town Gardens at My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad. I’ve listed them on our event calendar, and well, guess I just liked the ironic rootsy name, Concrete Prairie, reminding me of Marley’s Concrete Jungle. I was more than pleasantly surprised.…..
It did both, an immediate love, ever-growing. There’re no holes here, their self-titled debut album, out tomorrow (2nd September) is made from solid rhinestone. Solemn when needed, indignantly peppy otherwise, but always chiaroscuro and earnest. Americana, folk noir, of the like of Johnny Cash, vocally akin, with the depth and command of Jim Morrison, and, I kid you not, dammit it’s on that greatness level too.
There are secret treasures buried here, though lyrics chant, “you know when shit hits the fan, I’ll be the man who’s picking up pieces,” its humble Nashville-esque beginnings doesn’t prepare you fully for the finale. The Devil Dealt the Deck is an ambitious tragedy-come-rhapsody ending, it is their Stairway to Heaven, bronc-riding Othello, sublimely moreish.
Betwixt them are eight other solid and lengthy tunes, caringly crafted, exceptionally well delivered. Ballads of Bakersfield backbeat like I Wish you Well roll into the particularly Cash sounding Day by Day, merging into acoustic fingerstyle backwood blues rock by the haunting Hard Times, when things suddenly head foot-stomping bluegrass. By the upbeat People Forget you’re fully immersed in its evocative depictions, as it weaves and blends all subgenres in-between, wonderfully wrapped in this aforementioned dark prose.
Astonished I messaged them, to confirm this was their debut album, all too easy to perceive this as the project of legendary rock stars who hoisted in the best producer to reconnect their roots after decades of golden discography. They did in fact, find the ears of John Reynolds, producer for The Indigo Girls, Damien Dempsey and Sinead O’Connor.
Take the forlorn howl of Guthrie in his darkest moment, there’s broken characters of Springsteen’s Nebraska in the narrative too, yet somehow those desperate nuances here rise above both their melancholic murmur; it’s got edge but at best times it rides it frenetic and fierce; rootin’, tootin’ and a-shootin’!
Joe, from the band tells me, “It’s been a few years in the making due to some somewhat global delays!” But comparable to an artist who cannot leave a painting alone for finishing touches, it’s obvious after a listen, there’s a serious amount of work gone into this. Yet no one creates their magnum opus so early, surely? I confess I liked Springsteen’s inaugural The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, or Floyd’s Meddle better than the matured Born to Run or Dark Side of the Moon, but I accept their place is lesser popularly; if this then is the par of those, I want to be around when they do their masterwork.
There’s a fair bit of cliché Americana around and about, wishy-washy mediocre, but these guys aren’t sitting around a campfire with a can of beans playing the fart game here, this is concentrated, solid material, a real sheriff’s badge. This is how it should be done, if you catch my drift, and its equal distance away from Achy Breaky Heart as acid-techno is!
Launch day is tomorrow, across streaming platforms. CDs are up for pre-order on Amazon and the album will also be seeing a vinyl release: link here.
They’re play Swindon Shuffle, and there’s an album launch at Moles, Bath, Saturday 3rd September with Barney Kenny in support. Tickets here, are just a fiver.
Opening on Halloween and ending on Guy Fawkes Night, the next production at Devizes Wharf Theatre promises to be a mysteriously eerie…. Written by Joan Lindsay adapted by Tom Wright and directed by Debby Wilkinson, Picnic at Hanging Rock takes place on St Valentine’s Day in 1900, when a group of schoolgirls from Appleyard College … Continue reading “Picnic at Hanging Rock, Via The Wharf Theatre”
Here’s what we’ve found to do round and about Wiltshire this coming week, unless you like staying home, scowling at your electric smart meter as it ticks down pounds like a stopwatch attached to a timebomb.….. In a week where our illustrious MP Danny K’s words of reassurance blazed a rim-job op-ed in the trustworthy … Continue reading “Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 6th -12th October 2022”
You’d be forgiven for assuming The Crown at Bishop’s Cannings desire a gothic exodus of drugged and depraved heathens sacrificing virgins into a hellfire den of iniquity on a daily basis, if you believe the pitches of complaints by a sole villager. When, in reality, all that’s really happening is the occasional small gathering with … Continue reading “Bishop’s Cannings Crown Forced to Cancel Events”
Baroque & Roll Andy Fawthrop The last time I was in St Mary’s church was well before the C-thing to see TiTCo perform Spamalot, and not a lot has changed to the venue since then. It’s still a largely a disused church, with all the religious fixtures and fittings still in place, and with exactly … Continue reading “REVIEW – The Brook Street Band @ St Marys, Devizes – Saturday 1st October 2022“
It’s great news today, as the social circle Devizes Public Living Room has been offered The Cheese Hall to continue their weekly gatherings, by Devizes Town Council.… Living Room projects like this have been running across the world, pre-pandemic, and can be a lifeline for communities, providing nonspecific engagements, activities and a meeting point. There … Continue reading “Devizes Public Living Room Finds New Home”
Here we go for this coming week, excuse me for not waffling, really not in the mood. Oh, okay, just one whinge then, if you insist! It’s just the power-hungry draconian admin of Facebook groups, again. Now I’ve been banned from “The Devizes Issue,” not to be confused with “Devizes Issues” which I’ve been banned … Continue reading “Weekly Roundup of Events in Wiltshire: 28thSept– 4th Oct 2022”
Devizes Arts Festival pokes its head out of its nest this autumn, with a one night only comedy gig on Friday 4th November at the Corn Exchange, headlining Simon Brodkin, the genius who handed Theresa May a P45 at the Conservative Party Conference. Hilarious at the time, but after three years of Boris Johnson, which … Continue reading “Devizes Arts Festival Annouce November Comedy Night with Simon Brodkin”
Spud-gun is an amusing epithet underutilised as much as the Shambles often is in ol’ Devizes town, in my honest opinion. Spudgun, best describes the far removed from reality councillor who suggested a mezzanine floor is what’s needed to ensure the longevity of The Shambles. Is there even room for a second floor? I gazed … Continue reading “SoupChick’s Georgian Feast Got me Contemplating Usage of The Shambles”
Though risky, weatherwise, September seems to be the month The Devizes Food & Drink Festival has settled on, returning again this year on this pleasant Saturday with their grand opening of the food market, and gifting the bustling Devizes Market Place with the beautiful aroma of street food; who am I to resist a stroll … Continue reading “Devizes Food & Drink Festival, Back with a Dollop!”
A little late for the party, as ever, I’ve been procrastinating, and my computer is equally as listless; failing to save my original words on this. Meanwhile Newbury good guy, but welcomed regular on our circuit, Joe Hicks has been busy with a debut album launched yesterday, worthy of a rewrite…… Titled The Best I … Continue reading “The Best He Could Do at The Time, Joe Hicks’ Debut Album”