Quality Folk enriched Americana from the British heartlands
I receive a quite a few albums each month and there’s no scientific approach to what order I listen to them. Even household names can get passed over if I’m feeling in a contrary mood. But, as a rule of thumb, bands with quirky names don’t normally feature very high in my quest to discover the ‘next big thing’ nor does giving band members ‘cool personas.’ Today, however, I made an exception. I was intrigued by the mention of Skiffle in this band’s name, making this the first new album of 2013 to slide into the CD player.
If I concentrate on the music (which is the purpose of the exercise) the Vaudeville Skiffle Show are like a breath of fresh air in a crowded musical marketplace with their subtle mix of traditional British Folk Music and Bluegrass, and an emphasis on witty Americana-flavoured lyrics.
Opening track Bluebird instantly piqued my interest with some fiddle, banjo and acoustic guitar playing behind the lovely voices of ‘Most Ugly Child' Daniel Wright and Sister Stevie-Leigh (?), who sing alternating verses on a song that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Nashville Coffee shop.
Next song Honey is a real jaw-dropper. Nick Morland’s wailing fiddle compliments 'Minin' Bill Kerry’s haunting song about a man who feels he can’t live anymore without his first love.
The sing-a-long Gospel meets Folk song White Jesus, written and sung by 'Misk Hills' aka Alan Taylor, has all the Hallmarks of a barnstorming end-of-set song, and the story is memorable too.
Stevie-Leigh Goodison comes into her own on the final song of this 6-track Mini-LP, The Pretty Girl with the Golden Hair, which she wrote. She has a beautiful voice and, in the best traditions of Country Music, sounds on the verge of cracking throughout this lament about the passing of time. It will touch everyone who hears it.
‘Always leave the audience wanting more’ is an old theatrical saying, and it’s exactly how I felt about ESCAPE THIS WICKED LIFE, wanting more - much more - on this quite remarkable debut.