B;ack Dog (label)
29 August 2016 (released)
29 December 2016
Country music is something that I dabble in occasionally – it is one of those forms where if it is done badly it hurts the ears worse than claws on a blackboard.
This, however, is a superb example of Country music played well and with real heart and gusto.
Lead vocals come courtesy of Abi Orfila and Louise Orfila while Matt Orfila supplies acoustic, resonator, Nashville tuned and electric guitars – the perceptive amongst us may have noticed a resemblance in their names.
Names don’t matter, what matters is that this is the best UK Country band I’ve heard in years. Not Americana or Country & Western but honest and pure Country – unashamed and delightful.
They also feature some stellar assistance in the hands of BJ Cole on pedal steel, Liam Genockey (Steeleye Span) on drums and bass from John Hogg (Moke and sessions with Jimmy Page etc.) as well as Travis Toy and Tommy Yankton (both with Rascal Flatts). These guys don’t play with dummies and their contributions add to some stunning 3 part harmonies as well as fine guitar work and piano (from Abi). But it is the songs that really grabbed me.
Right from the off they seem to touch on classic themes – leaving, loving, pathos and pride – and the songs shimmer with great melodies and hooks. When they rip it up on a track such as ‘Hit The Ground Running’ they really kick up a storm of sound and on a slower number like ‘Just Somethin’ the vocal comes out as pure as a mountain stream over gorgeous pedal steel.
As I said, I don’t often dabble in Country but when it is good it can be really special and this one is.