‘Lost Legions’ - Phil Riley & Neil Mercer - engaging, reflective and thoroughly laid back

(March 17, 2017)

These two are new to me – yet somehow this music isn’t. There are overtones of other voices and other styles and even other times, a remark not made with any negative connotation but to record some distant lost legions coverfamiliarity that flows through this music. ‘Lost Legions’ by Phil Riley and Neil Mercer is quietly engaging acoustic in style, reflective in observation and thoroughly laid back in approach. The supremely gentle vocals fit well into the web of lyrics, which at times still remind me of times long gone.

Throughout the album, which I might add, I enjoyed immensely, I kept hearing snippets of early sixties, influences of folk mixed with Americana and some purposeful acoustic moments spent in smoky clubs and down at heel bars. And essentially that’s what this album requires of its listener - a bit of history and experience. I’m inclined to think these guys write their music from a particular perspective for a certain generation – or perhaps that’s just what I’m hearing. Listen to any track in any order - ‘Sinner’s Song’, ‘After The Storm’ or ‘Oliver’, perhaps ‘Just A Song’, ‘Porcelain Hand’ or ‘Safari Hat’ – great songs all.

The musicians are Phil Riley (vocals, guitar) Neil Mercer (vocals, guitar, mandolin, mandola, pipes, percussion) with Andy Cutting (melodeon) Neil Campbell (piano accordion) Heidi Carascon (vocals) Tom Bull (double bass) Neil Segrott (electric bass) and Steve Burton (banjo).


Review: Charlie Elland

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