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Martin Peirson Martin Peirson
Album: Shadows & Candlelight
Label: Muffin
Tracks: 14

Martin Peirson is a Yorkshire singer-songwriter who I first came across due to his involvement with Henry Priestman and last year I managed to see his solo set at a blues and jazz festival and now we have Shadows & Candlelight - a collection of fourteen songs.

The songs came together with Martin working with Beverley-based musician Peter Robinson using Robinson's Setter Studio to record the new material. But as the songs emerged it became apparent they need a bigger sound and so more musicians and singers were enlisted.

The results are impressive. This is a quirky collection of songs but the most striking feature are the arrangements.

There are contributions from ace pedal steel player BJ Cole, foot percussion from Le Vent du Nord in Quebec, and trumpet parts from Paul Liddell in Sunderland.

The songs are wide-ranging from the opening Looking for London, with its booming brass section, slide guitar and exquisite bass to the plaintive Goodnight, with it's simple guitar/piano/violin arrangement.

In between we have a whole range of different sounds, yes there's a train whistle, birdsong and even waves lapping on a beach but above all, there some lovely playing and some strong songs.

My only criticism would be that some of the songs are quite short lyrically and I would have liked more meat on the bone, so to speak.

The arrangements however do compensate, with organ-fuelled romps on The Singing Man and incisive guitar on Keep On Rolling particularly good.

Among the many highlights waiting to be discovered on this album is the love song Sparks, with a simpler arrangement that is nonetheless powerful.

This is an album that has been made with a lot of love and care. It comes with a full lyric sheet and is beautifully packaged.

John Knighton