Champions in the Guardian

Friday, 15th January 2010

GuardianDanny George Wilson may have adopted the title of a children's book for his latest venture, but the former singer-guitarist with Americana addicts Grand Drive is less preoccupied with youth on this album than the woes and disappointments of age. In the opening track, Henry the Van, the vehicle of the title conks out on the road to Aberdeen, prompting Wilson to sigh: "I guess we're both getting old." He recalls teenage dreams in Restless Feet, only to suggest that they're not quite fulfilled, and advocates living for the moment in the title track with a wistfulness tinged with defeat. It could all be rather depressing, but for the catchiness of the country-hued melodies, clankety banjos and lilting lapsteel guitars - and Wilson's irrepressible hero-worship.One moment he's Neil Young, the next Gene Clark; Follow the River pays homage to Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days, Wilson cheerfully effecting the Boss's guttural howl, while the Champions make like the E Street Band, squawking sax and all.Maddy Costa