Phil RileyPhil Riley
Album: Dragon Trails
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 13

A new album from an experienced singer songwriter. After a 25 year hiatus, Phil Riley has returned to music with a confident and assured offering. Predominantly a one man show, this album showcases Phil's solid guitar style, smooth vocals and strong lyrics with a few guests to join the fun.

A few songs really stand out from the crowd. Before Your Angels Die is a tender letter from a father to his son, accompanied by a lilting guitar part. Hand in the Fire is a slightly more upbeat number with a country influence. Another song with a very different style, wilder and a slightly raw quality is I Will Be There. While this a complete album of original songs, there is a traditional feel to several tracks. England's Green and Pleasant Land, while borrowing its title from the famous Jerusalem, is a much darker offering with a political slant and anti-war message. The closing track, Sing to Me Laddie is also more traditional in style with the addition of some concertina from Simon Day.

My favourite track has to be Swallow the Pills, a very light hearted and humorous comment on the consumerism of our society. Throughout the album there are shadows of other musician's influences, some moments of Martin Simpson, fleeting touches of Jack Johnson and the guitar of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). This has been a popular addition to car journeys this week and Phil will be well worth a listen if you can catch one of his live shows.

Nicky Grant

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