At the risk of upsetting a number of my friends that live in Australia and New Zealand, I have never heard of or listened to an Antipodean folk band before. So The James Brothers are opening a new door for me just before the release of this album in the UK and their tour which commences on the 24th February 2016 in Ludlow.
I first of all have to include a couple of lines from their website. "The James Brothers are not really outlaws and neither are they brothers and only one of them is called James." "And that's the James Brothers. Two men. Two Voices. Two Instruments and No Sheilas." The first comment relates to the image on the cover of their album and the second one just reminds me of Crocodile Dundee. I love the Aussie type of humour and these guys have it in abundance even if Jamie is a Kiwi!
So what about the music? A good fusion of traditional folk music with a mix of songs and instrumentals. The guys, James Fagan and Jamie McClennan, are superb musicians and Jamie is a terrific fiddle player and the whole thing comes together quite brilliantly. This is despite the music being described on iTunes as Country, so if you are into folk you would quite possibly miss this terrific offering. Both Brothers have enjoyed a solid musical journey to date separately, and this partnership looks to take them to new venues and introduce them to new audiences.
Any traditional album from Down Under would not be complete without a story about their famous outlaw, Ned Kelly (of Irish descent) and this one is no exception. I remember seeing the film years ago which starred Mick Jagger in an ill judged role. Therefore the track is just a little bit of Australian history and well worth a listen and is also musically excellent.
In addition to the song about Ned, we come across songs about a Buffalo (although this is a ship,) a Wallaby, a journey in a leaky boat and a song about the closure of Australia's' railways. A pretty rare and eclectic topic list! If you like instrumentals, take a listen to "Family Tree" which is the shortest track on the CD but also showcases brilliantly the musical talents of James and Jamie.
Much of the music on this CD evokes images of an evening spent around a fire in the outback throwing back a few "stubbies" and having a thoroughly good time. I can imagine that the Brothers' concerts will be a whole lot of fun and not just for the musical content. Some of the songs produce, in me at least, a genuine warm smile which can be no bad thing if it is transferred to other listeners.
Whether you like your Folk music modern or traditional, there is something in this album for you and I think I can guarantee a musical delight if you get to see the boys live.
|Aoife O'Donovan: In The Magic Hour||Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra: Heavy Wood|
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