Saturday, 23 November 2013

Album review: COLIN GILMORE - The Wild And Hollow

Highlights: Into My Future, Wake Me In The Night, Raging Eyes

Being a musician and having ‘Gilmore’ as a last name is not such a good idea. Having a musician-father, however, is a downright bad one, particularly if you are going to follow in his footsteps. Art does on occasion allow for such things to happen (‘Wainwright’, if you are looking at good examples in music business), but that is more like a crude, glaring exception. Usually, it’s either bad or nothing. So considering all that, Colin (son of country musician Jimmie Dale Gilmore; also of The Flatlands, also Smokey (‘OVER THE LINE!!!”) in the Coen brothers’ classic) is doing all right. In fact, I’d place him just a little bellow Teddy Thompson, Richard’s stylish if unspectacular son.

Whatever I might say below, it will not be as good a description of Colin’s music as this album’s cover. I swear when I first saw it, I knew exactly what The Wild And Hollow would sound like. The glasses told me Roy Orbison, the tasteful colours alluded to Marshall Crenshaw. Which is what the record is, and I can’t but welcome the arrangement: in the world where the word ‘derivative’ can hardly be used in a pejorative sense, ripping off Orbison is not a crime.

The perky 60’s styled bass guitar opening this album is nostalgia at its loveliest. Obviously there’s not a note of originality here, but the abundance of taste, masterful playing (musicians include Joe Ely and Colin’s father) and arrangements, as well as generally strong melodies almost make up for that. I’m embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy “Wake Me In The Night” (great tune, but a borrowed one), but then there’s nothing shameful in loving the gorgeously articulate violin of “Warm Days Love” or the chiming gem that is the closing “Raging Eyes” (could easily rival some of Crenshaw’s best songs).

The Wild And Hollow is inessential and will soon disappear without traces, so all the more reasons to enjoy it while it lasts. Stylish and unpretentious, Colin Gilmore makes so much more sense to me than Jake Bugg.   


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