I have always thought of Roddy as a kind of musical equivalent of the observational comedian. His lyrics seem to perfectly capture little elements of the world around us that are so easy to overlook but that can be infinitely interesting. This album gives me that feeling you get, when travelling, of opening your eyes and really seeing everything around you.
Musically it is beautiful and accomplished. In todays music scene where many artists try too hard to be just like one of the fans, it is refreshing to hear an album where the artist is saying "look what i've learnt and look what I can do".
i was a huge Idlewild fan ( still am ) and when i found out Roddy was doing a solo folk album it didn't excite me in the slightest. I had heard the more folky element weaving itself into the Albums as years went by and i used to skip these tracks. In hindsight these folky tracks stood out as the best work although it took me years to realize this! Granted you can go to a rock concert , get sweaty and scream your lungs out but i have always enjoyed the calming more melodic Ildewild. Old age creeping in maybe. When i was younger if it was angry riffy music that was my kind of thing. But i have to say this album changed everything for me. i was gutted it took me so long to go and buy this album. 5 years it had been out. Me and my now wife love Roddy and go and see him live whenever possible. Hes the nicest musician i have met. he always has time to chat after gigs and sign some posters. ( of which i have many ) i would urge you not bypass this album for another 5 years like me and get it in your life. you will love it.
I had just heard the new Idlewild single on the net, when I discovered Roddy Woomble had a solo album out. Heard a few samples from it, thought it was worth a go, and I'm glad I got it.
It still has some of the melodies reminiscent of Idlewild's songs, but it's much more diverse. I love the folk feel to it - and the stand out tracks for me are "As Still As I Watch Your Grave" - this is where the Idlewild influence can be heard, "Waverley Steps" - I love the female vocals in this, "Under My Breath" - my personal favourite, very atmospheric opening guitars.
This album will probably remain forever a hidden gem, but if you discover it you'll be able to treasure it too.
I confess that I am not familiar with the music of Idlewild (I am still sharing the journey with Tom Waits and Warren Zevon). Roddy was appearing at the Glasgow "Aye Write" Festival this year, and I was slightly involved in his session at the festival.
Some colleagues spoke about his work with Idlewild in glowing terms and I was intrigued about this Glasgow guy whom I had heard of, but knew little of his work.
I checked out the reviews on Amazon, and on the strength of these I decided to buy the cd. Occasionally I do clever things, and this was one of those times.
This a staggeringly beautiful and confident piece of work. The album has a strong folk element to it, but this is a folk type album for people who dont like folk albums. Produced by Kate Rusby's husband and with vocal contributions from Kate Rusby and Karine Polwart the credentials of the people involved shine through on every track.
Check out the harmonies with Rusby on "Waverley Steps".
The track listing is excellent. You can almost fell Roddy growing in confidence as the album progresses, and his voice seems to grow in stature and subtlety. I know that the tracks were probably not recorded in that order, but it would be interesting to know if this was the intention.
Stand out tracks in an album full of stand out tracks are "Waverley Steps", "My Secret is My Silence", "Every Time of a Long Moment", etc, etc, etc.
Believe me this is a stunning piece of work. Buy the album, place a review on Amazon and tell all your friends about this guy. He is not going away. Thank God!
Well done Roddy, it will be an interesting journey.
The British folk scene is incredibly strong at the moment. We have the populist freneticism of Mumford and Sons, the eclectic and adsorbing Bellowhead and luminaries such as Seth Lakeman and Spiers and Boden making a strong impression with their traditional stylings. Much as I love these artists work, I would argue that some of the most sublime records coming out at the moment hail from the North of England and Scotland, and this offering from one of Scotland's finest is one of the picks of the crop.
It's that style of music, Celtic rhyhms, gentle guitars, Gaelic fiddle work, gorgeous vocals, that instantly conjures up images of glens and moors shrouded in morning mist as lonesome lovers wander through singing of their heartbreak.
The song writing has a maturity to it that really grabs the attention. Roddy has a real feel for a good lyric, writing songs of loss and regret or joy and happiness that we can all relate to. And the music - oh the music. It has such depth. It truly is a thing of beauty. The vocals are sweet and perfectly deliver their message.
I was lucky enough to see Roddy in concert in York the other day. On stage he comes across as a really nice guy, and I can recommend going to see him live. He played an old Idlewild track, and I have to say it struck me immediately that in the middle of his more recent material the older stuff had a certain feeling of naivety to it - it really emphasised how much he has grown and matured both as a writer and as a performer. He also spoke of his respect for the late and sadly missed Bert Jansch, and I would have to say in all honesty that Roddy comes close to being a modern day equivalent in my eyes.
I've been fortunate to have this album for a month or so now. Other CDs have come and gone during that time but this is still getting regular outings.
This is a side project from the Idlewild lead singer who has put this record together with help from friends, including Rod Jones from Idlewild and two folk stars in their own right Karine Polwart and Kate Rusby, while another of the Idlewild band members took a break to enjoy fatherhood.
The CD has an enjoyable mix of folk songs and Idlewild style songs with a more folky instrumentation than would be normal for the Scottish rockers.
Stand out tracks include the ballad and title track "My secret is my silence" - co-written by Rusby's husband John McCusker who also produced the album. Polwart lends her vocals to this track and with McCusker's violin the three conjure up a melancholic though enchanting sound on this track.
Another is Track 2 "As still as I watch your grave". An example of an Idlewild-like song which builds to a delicious toe-tapping conclusion reminiscent of the Kate Rusby band live - and it's no coincidence then that you find KR band members McCusker, Andy Cutting, Ian Carr and Michael McGoldrick all featuring on this and other tracks.
Finally, "If I could name any name" has all the hallmarks of a Polwart song in its intelligent lyrics and simple melody. Woomble and Polwart should do more together - their voices just work together to bring a song to life. They sang this at a Celtic Connections gig in Glasgow earlier this year and you'll be singing along too after a listen or two.
So, if you're an Idlewild fan looking for something more pared back or a fan of Rusby or Polwart's work then you shouldn't hesitate to add this to your collection.
My wife and I have not listened to a more perfect album for many years that has such wonderful influences from the Fairports to ISB. Woombles voice is warm and sensitive. The music is sophisticated and predominately folk with a slight indie influence. The words conjure a romantic vision of the sea and waves and wind. Q gave it one star. I will never buy the mag again. This will enrich any serious music lovers collections. Well done Roddy! We've played it over and over and it still remains fresh. One of the best folk albums this year.
I came into Roddy Woomble,s "My Secret Is My Silence" unencumbered by expectations based upon his band Idlewild as I know absolutely nothing about them .They are a band who have orbited my own little satellite planet of musical taste ( or otherwise) without ever entering the atmosphere. So you'll get no comparisons of this album based on his former work from me. Judging this album on its own merits I can say unequivocally that it deserves further attention for it's a thoroughly enjoyable amble through temperate acoustic rock and folk.
The folk undoubtedly comes from some of the guests who adorn the album. Kate Rusby lends her usual exquisite vocals in support of songs like "I Came In From The Mountain", "From The Drifter To The Drake" and "Act IV". Woombles voice complements Rusby well and it's a tribute to him that the first instinct isn't for him to just shut up so you can listen to her unhindered as was the case on Rusby, s recent, unlikely collaboration with bucket voiced Ronan Keating. Rusby,s husband John Mckusker as well as co-writing two songs with Woomble -"I Came In From The Mountain" and "Play Me Something"- plays violin guitar , cittern and Wurlitzer. Instrumental drinking song "Whiskey face "gains a solo writing credit for McKusker. There is a plangent duet with Borders based singer/songwriter Karine Polwart "If I Could name My Name" which was also co-written.
Indeed this is very much a mutual affair. Five songs were co-written with fellow Idlewilder Rob Jones while a member of Glasgow alternative folk band Foxface contributes to two tracks. A track like the more vigorous "As I Still Watch Your Grave" is given real dynamism by Mckuskers pirouetting violin while the title track is just gorgeous , with that violin endowing the song with a lachrymose sadness. "Waverly Steps" achieves a spellbinding emotional punch via the carefully layered multi-faceted instrumentation and vocals that reminded me of the way I felt the first time I heard R.E.M,s "Fall On Me"...utterly gob-smacked by a songs complexity and delicate beauty. "Under My Breath "juxtaposes six stringed tensions with spiralling melody.
The clanging racket of "From The Drifter To The Drake" sits uneasily with the rest of the album and final track "Play Me Something" meanders a bit for the last third but them apart this a terrific album, alive with detail and texture, poetry and passion, and most importantly tremendous songs.Woomble may believe his secret is his silence but it's much simpler than that. He can sing and he can write very good songs. There is much evidence of both on this excellent album.