Rootstime

Wigan, the home of the British troubadour Nigel Clothier lies somewhere between Liverpool and Manchester. An enthusiastic public loved the folk songs that he gave in several solo acoustic concerts, measuring himself against the spirit of masters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. This debut album "Book or Days" contains eleven personally written songs in a genre which the press calls anglicised Americana and merges traditional folk songs with clear country influences.


For the producer’s chair at the recording of the album Nigel Clothier appealed to Fran Ashcroft, who has carried out this job for The Gorillaz and The Dandy Warhols. The album title was carefully selected because the songs on this record are just like tales in a day book.


Its respect for the style of traditional songwriters becomes clear from most of the songs on this disc and he writes clearly only what he has to tell. Nigel Clothier plays all instruments on this album and lays his complete heart and soul in each of the songs. As a multi-instrumentalist he was for some years also an appreciated member of the British traditional rock group Sharp Practise.


His most beautiful instrument remains however his mysterious voice sound. "Here Tonight", an OK and swinging start of the album, is followed by a ode to the legendary film star in "Hepburn's Run Away". Also "Season of The Rose" is a very pleasant song and Nigel Clothier comes at the vocals from an angle.


Title track "Book of Days" floats piano on laidback and melodramatic steel guitar. The first single from this album is called "Come North" and is a moving beautiful uptempo song, just like "Exceptin ' a Beach".


Critical listeners will say perhaps that the collection of songs is too uniform to captivate, but if the songs remain with you, well there is actually nothing wrong with that. "Hanging Out" and "Little English" are numbers, for example, with a very intriguing base of organ consonances. These songs are attractive like Springsteen’s super-simple melodies can bend to. What is notable throughout the record is that the lyrics are rather simple but that does not detract from the quality of the songs. We know already that simplicity in the lyrics is too demanding a task is for a lot of songwriters but we know also that such songs produces frequently also the best songs.


But this eleven songs spend nowhere the impression that this artist comes from the United Kingdom. Rather you should sit and listen somewhere by an open hearth fire down in Texas. Nigel, do not leave it too long guards before you make more records because we have already been now entirely persuaded that you will become a success.


Freddy Celis, Rootstime, Belgium

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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