Music reviews |  Messenger newspapers

Kevin Bryan gives his verdict on some of Steve Dawson’s CD releases this week, “At The Bottom Of A Canyon In The Branches Of A Tree” (Pravda Records). Specialists Dolly Varden and the folk / jazz combo Funeral Bonsai Wedding has already made a good impression on discerning customers. Steve’s exquisitely designed solo output is also worth a closer look and is inspired by the versatile joys of Californian folk rock of the early seventies and the gentle melodies of classic Chicago blues, gospel and soul. It’s inspiring, and there was some justice in this nocturnal world that I think would be the sonorous charms of standout tracks from his Pravda Records debut like Hard Time Friend, Forgiveness Is Nothing Like I Thought It “And” Beautiful Mathematics “would be required for open-minded music lovers everywhere.

Jan Schelhaas “Ghosts of Eden” (Talking Elephant Records) – Talking Elephants’ laudable program of Jan Schelhaas new editions will be continued with the appearance of this 2018 performance by keyboard ace Camel and Caravan. The Liverpool-born musician has teamed up with like-minded musical cohorts Jimmy Hastings, Doug Boyle and Andy Latimer to deliver an often rather melancholy and somber package that should appeal to anyone who has ever found the work of similarly polished and intelligent practitioners of the crossover Progs like the Alan Parsons project.

Paul Brett, “Stone Survivor” (Cherry Red / Lemon) – Paul Brett’s exquisite guitar work has graced a number of interesting recording sessions and critically acclaimed solo performances over the past half century, but he remains a pretty shadowy figure to the general public an unfortunate situation that the publication of this well-researched 4-CD retrospective is intended to correct a little. In terms of content, there are wonderfully obscure offers of long-forgotten outfits such as The Union and Tintern Abbey as well as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s debut single “Devil’s Grip” and a generous selection of tracks from the three albums he recorded with the award-winning Paul in the early 1970s Brett’s Sage for the Pye / Dawn label collection provides an eloquent vehicle for Paul’s rare skill on both electric and acoustic guitar.