FolkWords Reviews

‘Tender Gold & Gentle Blue’ from Red River Dialect - supremely expansive and eminently listenable

(July 06, 2015)

From first to last, the forthcoming album from Red River Dialect (due for release 31 July) takes you back to a time when psychedelic folk was something yearning and gentle, a soundscape lost within itself, inside your impressions and whatever substances were coursing through your system. ‘Tender Gold & Gentle Blue’ departs from much of what has gone before from this band, yet these sounds were always bound up in their earlier offerings, it’s just with this album the trappings have been stripped away.

tender gold and gentle blue red river dialectAlthough not originally intended to be a band album (according to the PR blurb) perhaps more a solo effort from David Morris, the inclusion of the band has delivered a supremely expansive and eminently listenable album. There’s an overriding impression of space and time, lyrics exploring feelings and music expressing emotion through a pastoral, rustic quality. The faint sadness in ‘For Ruth and Jane’ with its ethereal quality develops as the interplay between piano, guitars, violin and cello entwines a tapestry onto which the lyrics weave their path, ‘Fallen Tree’ reaches further into the synthesis, while the breadth of ‘Dozmary’ leads to an altogether mysterious province.

There’s a swirl of hypnotic banjo on ‘Khesed’ made more enthralling by the lingering ‘almost-spoken’ vocals, which return just as potently through ‘Cavernous Calls’. The instrumentals, ‘Child Song’ and ‘Sceillic’ have an elusive quality – listen and absorb, analysis will leave you with only a whisper – while ‘Ring of Kerry’ serves up its echoing, meandering magic. With ‘Tender Gold & Gentle Blue’ Red River Dialect cut another faceted gem into folk, and create a structure that sparkles.

Red River Dialect are David Morris (acoustic guitars, cuatro puertorriqueño, gongs, cymbals, vocals) Robin Stratton (piano) Ed Sanders (violin), Jack Kindred-Boothby (cello, tape loops) and Simon Drinkwater (banjo, whistle, chanter, metallophone) with Nathan Salsburg (guitar ‘Great Eastern Sun’). Find band and album here: redriverdialect.bandcamp.com

Review: Tim Carroll

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