CD Review: The Good Intentions – Travelling Companion (Drumfire, 2013)
This Liverpool, UK folk trio’s third album is given an extra helping of twang by Los Angeles producer Rick Shea and a lineup of backing musicians that includes Greg Leisz and a pair of fiddlers. The trio’s vocals suggest both the ’60s folk of Peter, Paul & Mary and the West Coast country-rock of Gram Parsons, and singer-guitarist Peter Davies‘ original songs (and a cover of A.P. Carter’s “Gold Watch and Chain”) show the band’s view of folk-to-country as a continuum that stretches naturally from Bristol to Nashville to California. Though he invokes nostalgic icons like railroads and Hank Williams, his songs are rooted in timeless themes of faded love, injustice and mortality. He writes in the simple poetics that is often heard in folk music; his images and situations strike an immediate resonance, but his details linger and grow. The group’s harmonies add color, and the production’s country elements link these songs to a time before folk and country were so commercially separate. It’s no longer a surprise when Americana sounds arrive from other continents, but having them return from the birthplace of Merseybeat is a trip.