‘Bare Along The Branches’ Norrie McCulloch - needs no defining - just listening(February 05, 2017)
When I started listening to this album someone said, ‘you know that’s not folk don’t you’ – here we go again, put a box around it and you’ve got music defined. And there’s a point, Norrie McCulloch is a singer-songwriter that blends styles and genres in such a way as to create his own brand - folk, country, bluegrass, Americana with a Celtic edge - it’s all there. And like anyone with a strong and skilful hold on their art, the blend he creates needs no defining - just listening.
His new album, ‘Bare Along The Branches’ follows hard on the heels of ‘These Mountain Blues’ and before going any further I’m here to tell you that it’s excellent. The musicianship faultless, the vocals profound, the engagement complete, the originality utterly refreshing. The songs move across stories of loss, love, emotional strife and spiritual hope, flowing perfectly from ‘Shutter’ to ‘Frozen River’, ‘Safe Keeping’ to ‘Never Leave You Behind’ – all the time leading you deeper into McCulloch’s observant and understanding lyrics. With ‘This Time’ the personal feelings are primal, with ‘Turn To Dust’ they become intense – this one, once heard, will stay with you for a long time.
‘Bare Along The Branches’ releases 24 February on Black Dust Records and you should buy it - no question.
Review: Tom Franks