‘Scarecrow’ from David Hope - draws a line in the sand and dares you to cross(January 28, 2013)
First notice the voice – the kind generated through hours singing through the early hours in smoke-filled whisky bars; a Jack Daniels, oak-aged, heavy-grained voice with a husky edge that catches your ear. Second, the music – acoustic Americana-tinged folk laid across gutsy guitar breaks that speaks of experiences shared and time-served. All this comes from David Hope on his album ‘Scarecrow’ - and it demands a long hard listen.
A native of County Clare in the West of Ireland, David’s songs tell the tales of a travelling man with more than a few miles under his boots, a man that knows the miles between home and faraway. These songs ask nothing, give everything and take no prisoners. His diverse influences slide across Americana folk and rock with a touch of Irish for good measure – and that shows through every note. The album opens with a hard-edged song that makes a certain statement - great vocals, melodic hook and passion a plenty - that’s ‘Hell or High Water’. It’s one of those songs that perfectly position an album. It’s followed by the more sombre, but no less emphatic ‘Fall and Rise’ and while the title track ‘Scarecrow’ continues the slower mood, it has a solid sound that punches hard and low.
‘Daybreak Someplace' may offer a lighter feel yet still its demanding lyrics drag you on the road trip, then the race moves up a gear with the unsentimental look at life through ‘See The Ghost’ - and there's the regretful lyric of ‘Let Her Go’. Were I forced to choose a favourite then the shadows and regret of ‘Chasing Time’ would be the one, but be warned it will get to you.
‘Scarecrow’ draws a line in the sand and dares you to cross. If you do you will not forget.
Reviewer: Dan Holland