‘Time and Tide’ from Phil Lyons - an album worth getting to know(November 18, 2013)
Here we are again, man-with-guitar – often maligned, sometimes lauded, frequently judged - yet still a staple and backbone of English folk music. This time the man in question is playing a selection of trads, self-compositions and covers. Unfortunately, some musicians are tempted to adorn this simplicity with over-produced layers, then again, others deliver it raw and straightforward. That’s what you get with ‘Time and Tide’ from Phil Lyons, sure you’re hearing it as it’s played, but that reflects the calibre of guitar work and vocals.
The album opens with a fine rendition of Jay Turner’s mournful and agonising ‘Marie in the Corner’, then tradition is represented by the dark and cautionary tale of ‘Maria Martin’ and by ‘Shilo’ a version of The Female Highwayman’ (of which there are many).
As Phil also plays with traditional French band Bof!, he brings a re-arranged version of the French trad ‘L’Amant de Nantes’ to his album, and also offers the piercingly beautiful ‘Brown Bird’ written by Paul Metsers. The trad side of his music again comes through in the dolorous ‘Ship in Distress’ with its bleak tale and the equally disastrous narrative ‘Billy Taylor’ – seafaring, desperate love, betrayal and murder ... all good folk song fare.
Phil’s instrumental skills reflect through ‘Vertellac’ - a self-composed instrumental, inspired we are led to believe, by blue skies and Bergerac (that works for me) and ‘Raz’ a delightful Breton hanter dro dance tune. Phil has a definite touch on the guitar, nothing overtly flashy but a man in command of his chosen instrument, likewise the vocals - a fine fit with the song selection. ‘Time and Tide’ is definitely an album worth getting to know.
Contact Phil here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Dan Holland