The first track I heard from the new Jamie Williams LP was track 11 ‘Mean Old World’, a lead track (with accompanying video) that sets the tone for this release perfectly. The song, and the album, has a distinct sound, almost old fashioned in its ‘live recording’ approach, and the lead vocal shares so much with the style of Bob Dylan that you have to listen closely sometimes to know it’s not the great man himself.
The full album though is an LP of two halves. Half of the songs draw directly on traditional roots and blues structures, based around the familiar 12 bar chord pattern. There’s a reason why this approach has held sway for so long over the genre – it’s a solid base for a strong songwriter to build around – but in the case of this album, it is the songs which stray from the 12 bar pattern that make the biggest impression.
‘Don’t Cry’ for example (the first non-12bar on the album) has a great chord pattern and an infusion of country influences that make a nice change from what goes before.
The rhythm switch in the coda is a nice touch too. Other highlights include the upbeat ‘Letting My Love Show’ and the tempo changes of ‘Rest of My Days’.
All in all, this is a solid if unspectacular effort from a band with a distinct sound that is easy to fall for. There’s a charm to the production here, without gloss and fussiness. It’s an album that’s at its strongest when applying these ideas to fresh structures. 7.8/10. Dennis Hugh