Review Archive

Bob Haughian’s new album ‘Home’ expansive Celtic-influenced country-folk-rock fusion

(December 13, 2012)

There used to be a game based on finding out what people did for a living, called something like: ‘What do you do?’ Well, with Bob Haughian and his band you could play similar a game only it’s moreBob Haughian Home likely to be called ‘What do you play?’ That’s because I’ve yet to hear an album with a more diverse mélange of expansive Celtic-influenced country-folk-rock fusion with a soupcon of jazzy-blues added for good measure. You’ll find all that and more on Bob Haughian’s new album ‘Home’.

Without doubt ‘Home’ exposes Bob’s Irish heritage, it also picks up on his skill for story-telling lyrics and writing hook-riveted melodies. That combination shows through the eponymous track ‘Home’ – listen to the reach and scope of the moving lyrics as Bob and Emily Bellman share a double-header vocal lead across an inspired melody. There’s a step-change into the raw presence of ‘In The Rain’ complete with gutsy vocals over punchy guitar breaks, from there it’s only a short slide into reflective folk ballads like ‘Wexford Town’ with its finely judged harmonica touch and the lyrically perceptive and mournful ‘Where’d It Go’.

Before you know it, they’re on the move again as you’re grabbed by the country-edged fiddle-driven essence of ‘Train Take Me Home’, then you’re taken on another folk-rock trip with ‘Another Town’ and just in case you thought that was it ‘Around’ hits you with a pure Irish dance step that will not allow you to sit still. Even when its songs make you think, ‘Home’ makes you feel good with its musical and vocal dexterity.

I reckon this is an album equally ‘at home’ on a rock website as it is on one that covers folk,  however there’s such a strong folk influence that ‘Home’ fits perfectly within our disparate folk definitions. If you like folk with a distinct rocky edge added to a miscellany of influences then this is for you. Me, I loved it.

Playing alongside Bob (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) on ‘Home’ are Robert Libbey (guitars, bass keyboards, ‘banjitar’, harmonica, drum arrangements, percussion) Emily Bellman (background and lead vocals) Doug Slone (fiddle) plus Sarah Nickerson, Bernie Huaghian and Aaron Libbey (background vocals).

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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