The Colin Holt BandThe Colin Holt Band
Album: Chasing Ghosts
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

I love this job of music reviewer, even if it is unpaid, as I get to listen to bands and singers that I have never heard of and probably would not without the connection to FATEA.

So the latest new arrival, for me at least, is Northern based musicians The Colin Holt Band. When I signed up for this one I was slightly nervous as the band is described on Facebook as being of the independent genre. I have no idea what that means. When I received the CD and copied it into my iTunes library, it said it was jazz and I really do not like jazz. So, as you can imagine, I pressed the Play button for the first track with slight trepidation and was greeted by a wonderful piano intro followed by a fabulous piece of saxophone. This I discovered is played by the very well known "Snake Davis" so no surprise at the quality of the playing.

The album is exceptionally listenable with a mix of genres, none of which would I regard as jazz. One song sounds like the theme tune from the movie "Tootsie" by Stephen Bishop. Another has subtle tones of Ralph McTell. The opening track, the title of the album is "Chasing the Ghosts" and is a great introduction to the band as it possibly encapsulates all that they are good at.

Colin Holt has written all the songs, produced the artwork for the album cover and quite probably made the tea at the record sessions. Colin sings and plays both acoustic and electric guitar. The rest of the band comprises Miles Keith on backing vocals, acoustic, nylon and electric guitar; Adam Nolan on piano and keyboard; Phil Udall on fretted and fretless bass, always a sign of a good bassist and finally Doug Tones on drums and percussion. A genuinely talented bunch! I especially like the way that the band has weaved the piano and sax together to give a sound so strong yet subtle that you would think it is coming from a much larger outfit. "So perfectly" possibly is. "Small Town Boy" has the intro that reminds me of Tootsie. "In the long run" no relation to the Eagles' song, starts with a beautifully subtle piece of acoustic guitar and reminds me of the aforementioned Ralph McTell. "Sail away" starts with a riff that reminds me of "Imagine" by John Lennon and is a delightful song, the sax in it is stunning and it is very appropriate for the last track on an album leaving the listener with a very nice warm glow.

Overall, this is a very nice album from a band that is on the way up. Their website is just a holding page so do not expect to learn much from it. A tour is planned for 2015 with Snake Davis with whom they have already performed at numerous venues so watch out for future dates.

I suspect that the band is in need of financial support and is working on a bit of a shoestring. This, having made such a good album, earns them even more credibility and "power to the elbow."

I have one minor complaint or observation to make and I hope that the band take this as constructive criticism. I think it is Colin that sings most of the tracks and he does at times slightly lose his intonation. This is probably most evident in the track "Bad Weather." It does not really detract from the overall performance though and I may perhaps be being over critical. One thing that I believe would make a dramatic improvement to the band and deliver a quantum leap forward would be to introduce a female singer. A couple of the tracks are crying out for a female voice. Just a suggestion!

So overall, a very good album from an accomplished band who I hope will reap the success that their music deserves.

Rory Stansbridge