on 12 July 2010
There are several of Martin Simpson's recent album's reviewed on this site. They've all got rave reviews, but I've made comments elsewhere that his recent studio albums are just too sanitized. This album is streets ahead of any of them. The sound is great the performances magical, inventive passionate, lyrical and alive, and it all sounds very fresh, replete with the magic ingredient that oh so clever modern studio production doesn't provide - ambience. Every track is good, but Plains of Waterloo/James Connolly, Boots of Spanish Leather, Granmore Hare are outstanding; and Highway 61 and Spoonfull are simply awesome. Buy this and be blown away. Shame you can't give more than five stars, because it's certainly worth more.
on 24 January 2013
I only discovered this album fairly late into Martin Simpson "fandom", having started with some of his more produced albums such as Prodigal Son and Righteousness and Humidity. Much as I enjoy those, I have to say that this has become far and away my favourite album by what is arguably my favourite (folk) musician. Simpson offers a highly engaging combination of blues-guitar wizardry and pensive ballads, with several standouts (Jasper Songbird/Spoonful, Highway 61, One More Day/Boots of Spanish Leather among others) amid a very solid overall offering. The focus here is definitely more on Simpson's Americana/Blues of his old-world-new-world balancing act, slide guitar and string bends over airs and reels, but then you probably gathered that from the name of the album already.
If you like Martin Simpson and don't hate blues, or if you like blues and don't hate Martin Simpson, you really have no excuse not to own this.