03 May Subba-Cultcha
Can we call a UK band ‘Americana’? Who cares, let’s call it what it really is, good music.
Former Grand Drive man Danny George Wilson has really hit the mark with this, his 9th career album. A collection of elegiac yet catchy country songs Streets Of Our Time cleverly keeps things brief. Instrumentally, acoustic guitar, banjo, lap steel and rowdy group harmonies dominate but the band ensure that they zip along with a verve and confidence that is entirely winning.
Henry The Van kicks of the album and it’s immediately apparent that like fellow travelers on this road, The Felice Brothers that the same old influences (Dylan, The Band, The Byrds circa Sweethearts of The Rodeo etc) can still be put together with fine effect if the musicians have a feel and most importantly passion for the form, it also signposts the themes of change and the inevitable march of time (“I guess we’re both getting old”). Another stand out is Follow The Leader which has a strong backbeat and sax lines that recall a country-fied Springsteen
Most impressively for a UK band is their complete devotion to the country idiom, a less assured band would not be able to pull off such Hank Williams style lap steel with a straight face, but their conviction carries this fantastic record through. While it loses a little bit of steam near the end, Danny and the Champs have pulled of a fine smash and grab of classic American influences and manage to fully inhabit these songs. A delightful achievement.