Marching DonaldMarching Donald
Album: Sometimes The Breeze
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 8

Marching Donald is the nom de plume of singer-songwriter Ryan Davies with "Sometimes The Breeze" being the second album to his credit, following on from his self-titled debut three odd years back. It was an impressive debut, one I was lucky to hear him play much of live when he was one of the artists performing at Folkstock.

He's an artist that combines a strong sense of observational songs with a well disposed sense of metaphor which makes it very easy to relate to his songs as they have a feel that Marching Donald is holding a conversation with you, rather than singing songs at you. It's a feeling that's enhanced as there are times when the songs seem to hold contra-positions, but then life is rarely black and white.

The backing is simply guitar and even then it occasionally drops to barely a whisper, which also helps deliver focus to the narrative, though subsequent listens betray that simplicity for the lie that it is. The reality being that it helps weave the structure of the songs, rather than just providing somewhere for the words to lay their hat. In fact in songs like "Author Of The World" I could almost find myself feeling that I was listening to a young Billy Bragg, with a underlying punk sensibility driving the song forward with that rebelliousness of youth.

"Sometimes The Breeze" is one of those albums that sounds a bit flawed, a bit rough and ready if you like and it revels in that. You can feel the passion in the songs, England is rarely a land of country gardens, it's an urban landscape that has been shaped be people, sometimes for the worst, sometimes for the better. This is not a world written through rose coloured spectacles, nor an album written under a black cloud of cynicism, rather it's an album that tells things like they are, which gives it a refreshing honesty.

"Sometimes The Breeze" perhaps because of the light instrumentation, sounds like it's been recorded studio live. It feels like an album that's taken as much by the scruff of the neck as it has the heart and that's rarer than you think these days, well worth checking out.

Neil King

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