Americana UK – Review

Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Paul Villers


Little Wheel Music, 2013

  • The future’s so bright…

…Mr. Denwood comes out of the shade.

One wouldn’t necessarily describe this record as a ‘rebranding’ or even a ‘relaunch’ but there is a sense of clearing the decks in order to make way for the next stage or for future steps. You know how it is – the spouse had you redecorate the living room in that fetching purple which wasn’t exactly the right shade you had in mind and every time you sit back with a relaxing bottle of your favourite poison it just rankles that little bit. Or that hedge in the garden that you clipped into the topiary equivalent of a Da Vinci – it was absolutely fine but you can’t help thinking that you a few yards to the right or left would have been the perfect setting.

Fortunately music is moveable and you can redecorate songs into more pleasing settings. So it is here. Clayton Denwood had some songs kicking about from various places going back almost to ten years in some cases. Good songs, well played and well sung but not really shining out as well as they could. Hence the decision to remaster and reissue them into a more pleasing whole.

So this is a retrospective of sorts, a revisiting and re-evaluation of an output which was an itch that just needed scratching. When you visit an art gallery the ‘hang’ is everything and here the songs hang together as if they were ever meant to be – sequenced and arranged splendidly. There’s a pleasing stylistic thread which runs though them. In fact its almost as if they were conceived, written and recorded as a whole from scratch rather than plucked from disparate sources.

Musically speaking Denwood is in good company. Like fellow Canadians Young, Cohen, (most of) The Band he has a real songwriting flair. Unlike them he lives in deepest Middle-England which is a shame for them obviously. He flies the flag for UK Americana in fine style, there’s a Dylan, The Band, Woodstock vibe going on which is unsurprising since he’s been there and done that (no, literally – he used to live there). Having said that there is sufficient diversity in the tunes to keep everybody happy…folksy, bluesy, funky, country stuff.

Here, then the tunes amassed over a long period finally find their proper home – and having scratched that itch Denwood is now free to move onwards and upwards. Let’s look forward to that.

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