‘Deliberate Distractions’ from Roving Crows - innovation and progression(September 16, 2013)
Folk fusion – but fusing what? Well it seems like pretty much anything they feel like throwing into the mix, and with unerring accuracy Roving Crows get the mix right. Their new album ‘Deliberate Distractions’ is continuing proof that blending traditions, mingling European-wide rhythms, with multiple overlays of jazz, country and blues, plus vibrant strings and brass accents create the precise sound that Roving Crows have clearly worked hard to create. However much you recognise the style, there’s no complacency here, with ‘Deliberate Distractions’ you’ll find that here’s a band that continues to innovate and progress.
The opening track is pure Roving Crows - ‘Journeyman’s Blues’ - different enough to prompt attention then on familiar ground with wicked lyrics, thumping energy with intense fiddle inflections, while the memorable, revolution-focused, familiar narrative of ‘The Hitchhiker’ has a wonderful brass-driven tune. The haunting and faintly ominous tones of ‘Weather’ moves into newer reaches as does the more reflective lyric of ‘Rollin’ Home’ before it slides into recognisable Roving Crows ground. Then comes ‘One Day’ a deeply-moving tale of growing up and the changing days that process brings. The initially simple ‘Guns’ is abounding with emergent energy, building through a softly ambling tune to a scampering race to the finish. And finally there’s the vivacious verve of ‘Familiar Man’ which has to become a Roving Crows classic among their many others.
As I’ve said before, this band must constantly generate thumping great headache among the folk classification junkies as they try to place Roving Crows into ‘convenient’ boxes. While those of us that have followed their innovative folk, forged on rock solid tradition and concentrated musicianship, from their eponymous 2010 album, will love ‘Deliberate Distractions’ for what it is. To quote myself again (nasty habit) this is ‘folk from the leading edge of fusion’ and it’s all the better for its lack of rules and restraints.
The Roving Crows are: Paul O’Neil (guitar, vocals) Caitlin Barrett (fiddle, vocals) Tim Tolhurst (percussion) Gregory Wilson-Copp (trumpet) and Loz Shaw (bass, vocals).‘Deliberate Distractions’ carries on where ‘Bacchanalia’ left off. Roving Crows continue to build on their freedom of fusion and still manage to take their music towards new horizons. I think you will happily follow.
Find Roving Crows and ‘Deliberate Distractions’ here: www.rovingcrows.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll