Wooden Horse - ‘What Comes Around’(October 26, 2011)
Take two guys, tightly-tempered gutsy guitars, seamlessly melded harmonic vocals, then wrap that around a folksy, bluesy mix of Americana and you’ve got Jamie Knight and Ben Church aka Wooden Horse and their debut album: ‘What Comes Around’. There’s a rich harvest here - expertly executed ‘trads’ and convincing covers that rub shoulders with confidently constructed originals. This album exudes presence, depth and maturity.
From the self-penned opener ‘Hell Ain’t Going Home’ through a well-worked update of ‘CC Rider’ and a crackerjack cut of Dylan’s ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ to a soulful rendition of ‘Sweet Carolina’ these guys hold your attention and deliver exactly what Doctor Americana ordered. The song list treats you to seven classy Knight/Church originals. There’s the punchy banjo-driven, harmonica-edged urge of ‘Freight Train Blues’, the mournful tenderness contained in ‘We’ll Move Up’ and the one that must become a Wooden Horse classic, with the body-hugging harmonies and superb guitar intricacies of ‘Waiting On You’.
Wooden Horse hit the sweet spot of American country-blues with a vital soupcon of alt-folk added to the blend. Their touch on the guitar and banjo strings reflects that heritage and yet they maintain an added edge all their own. Together on the vocals; Knight handles guitar and stomp box while Church deals with guitar, harp, banjo and Weissenborn steel. And for a couple of English guys they morph their vocals with a pretty good American edge of hard-driven vitality – no mid-Atlantic affectation, no pretence - just classic, pure Americana and worth everyone's attention.
Reviewer: Tom Franks