One might expect that an artist would have matured by their seventh album and Tony McLoughlin definitely has. But he has avoided the pitfalls that often come with longevity and this album sounds fresh and inspired, as much as he did on his first album.

This is Americana of the first water: strong themes, beautifully played and produced to focus on the songs and not the producer – Philip Donnelly producing.

McLoughlin himself has a warm and throaty voice, never shouty or aggressive but definitely getting his point across. His band here comprises Mcloughlin on vpcals, guitar, Hammond & harmonica, Philip Donnelly on slide and electric guitars, Joe Gallagher on bass and electric guitar and Gev Barrett on drums. Although recorded in Tipperary in Ireland they have a very Nashville sound.

The opening track ‘Blood On Blood’ really sets the tone for the album, dark theme and immediately taking you to the internecine battles of the old west. ‘Flying Bird’ has an element of Skynrd’s ‘Freebird’ about it, especially with Donnelly’s wailing slide playing all through the track – personally, I love the track.

There isn’t a weak track on the album, all written either by McLoughlin on his own or with others except for ‘If You Were A Bluebird’ by legendary Texan Butch Hancock which has a subtle Mexicali edge to it and a gentle flow to the song.

Personal favourites are ‘Treeline’ and ‘Below Zero’ both of which demonstrate the more dark side of McLoughlin’s writing and singing.
An excellent album and a pleasure to see that Tony McLoughlin still has the ‘edge’.