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MP3 Duncan Walters - Northern Rain

Country music is unrecognisable from what it was when the great Hank Williams walked the earth. However, here is an album and an artist: Duncan Walters who re-establishes and re-enacts that innocence, integrity, and simple joy that sometimes seems so lost

12 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Traditional Country, COUNTRY: Western Swing

Artist(s): Duncan Walters
Album: Northern Rain
Label: Self Released
Available: Available Now
Rating: 5 STARS
Review by: Doug Floyd

I like to listen to country music. I like it because out of all the forms of music there is always something essentially honest, good and sincerely pertaining to the human situation to be found within the idiom. It has history, it has a family tree that can be traced way back into the centuries through the meandering well travelled paths that brought it home to where it is today. Some country music has been swallowed by the big corporations and the publicity and media machinations have wound their wheels and spat out something that is unrecognisable from what it was when the great Hank Williams walked the earth. Just occasionally however, there is an album and an artist who re-establishes and re-enacts that innocence, integrity, and simple joy that sometimes seems so lost. Duncan Walters is one of those artists.

The twelve tracks that form this notable debut include the four songs that were included on the demo that Walters distributed previously. That initial foray was an impressive start and the full length debut carries on in that style wholeheartedly. There is plenty of variety up for grabs here, from lounge jazz inflected country to full tilt bluegrass hoe-downs and every stop along the way. In each song Walters and his fine band of players rip it up or cut it lean bowing only to the demands of the song, each note placed perfectly and nothing wasted.

The title track opens the album with a flourish of fiddle and dobro, setting out the stall for a genuine roller coaster honky tonk ride. Walters'' baritone vocals exude warmth and confidence, smooth as molasses and as welcoming as sunshine after a rain storm. "Dancers on the Heart" features some impressive slide guitar courtesy of Jack Pearson and Randy Kohrs'' stylish Dobro adds to the true country feel of this brooding, moody shuffle. Here Walters'' incredibly poetic lyrical finesse is exemplified with some stunning writing:

"Just sand, heat and desert sun
Surround a woman whose heart was one
To the man that held her waist deep in the waves
As rare as water on the cactus flowers
Her lips would soothe his mind for hours"

A melancholy "Come Back Baby" follows, a melodious tale rich in world-weary heartache and loss. Here the band intertwines tastefully with guitar, fiddle, mandolin and piano all weaving their magic leaving the words to resonate against the richness of the playing. "Tethered Charms" has some of the most richly appealing vocals and the Walters charisma again conjures some wonderful images: She hits you like a 50''s Coke bottle dressed in denim

One of the many highlights is the gentle shuffling "Asunder" which evokes the long lost innocence of the great country love song as once performed by artists like the great "No Show" Jones. "Palm Trees" has a lazy jazz feel with some thoughtful piano lines and the dobro/fiddle filling against a tasteful Spanish guitar, providing perfect backing for Walters most tender and sublime vocal of the set. The album reaches a powerful crescendo with an infectious legs a'' kicking and toes a tappin'' "Moral Fiber"; a song invoking thirties western swing - up to and including some Bob Wills "yee-ha''s!" A brief respite for the spellbindingly beautiful "Blind Lullaby" before ''Northern Rain'' wraps up with a jaunty bluegrass hoedown - "I''ve Got Dreams", where the band lets rip in fine style, demonstrating their remarkable ability to carry pretty much any style or pace with measured abandon.

This is a very fine album, the sort of record that can re affirm the simple pleasure of listening to wonderful music. There is nothing flash or overbearing on any of the cuts on ''Northern rain'' it just presents great songs with finesse born of talent, dedication and love of the music. The production is neat and unfussy and the artist has striven to keep the process as authentic as possible, declining the use of any studio trickery that may interfere with the simple genius of good music well played. Simply irresistible stuff, which I heartily recommend to anyone with a soul.

Northern Rain
Dancers on the Heart
Come Back baby
Tethered Charms
Palm Tree
Deep River Blues
Bar Room Rodeo
Moral Fiber
Blind Lullaby
I''ve Got Dreams

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