Gary Hall & The Stormkeepers - Wide Open To The World

Sunday 1st December 1991
Gary Hall & The Stormkeepers - Wide Open To The World

STYLE: Country
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Run River 0015 0015

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

Tangling us journos up in knots with "are they country?", "are they folk-roots?" questions are this fine band of Preston pickers. The Stormkeepers have journeyed down an intriguing musical road, picking up plaudits in MM and NME while demonstrating that not all music emanating from small clubs and indie labels is grunge and garage. Their previous two albums were good but this is their best yet. Gary's wistfully poignant voice, at times recalling the glories of Gram Parsons, takes songs of pain and parties, lovers and loneliness and breathes a sense of experience into every line. More concerned with feelings than the minutae of bar room encounters or driving through the night, Gary's songs have a strange, translucent life where past and present fuse in a blur of heartache and hope. My favourites are "Let's Talk About It" with a dazzling couple of fiddle breaks from virtuoso Richard Curran, the slow and mournful "If We Try" and "Jesus Christ" the stomping hoedown Woody Guthrie wrote U2 once recorded, but here Gary and his tembastic band of musical eclectics put down the definitive version. Catch these guys at a club near you.

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