‘To Evangeline’ Alister Atkin and The Ghost Line Carnival - essential intensity and energy(January 23, 2014)
People flourish in a career and all the time there’s another bubbling inside. Alister Atkin is one of those. Internationally recognised as a master artificer of hand-made, custom guitars used by many leading artists, he’s also a musician. Releasing his first album ‘In Time’ in 2012, to pretty much unanimous approval, he’s now set to release the follow up, ‘To Evangeline’ in February 2014. Before I go further let me make something clear - if you liked the debut album then you’re going to love this - it’s tighter, more immediate, heartfelt and visceral with an essential intensity and energy just oozes through.
The collective presence that is ‘To Evangeline’ features Alister Atkin along with his own band, The Ghost Line Carnival delivering a blend of expressive folk ballads primarily inspired by personal encounters and wide-open mind-expanding expanses of the Canadian north-east. There’s a haunting depth to the songs that evoke the journeys, places and experiences that called them into being. Outside of the insight of the lyrics there’s a forthright edge describing life and love to make the songs easy to absorb and relate to.
The soft recognition in ‘Jess’s Song’ moves through the shanty narrative of ‘Seadogs’ into the reflection in ‘Wandering’ and the driving refusal of ‘San Diego’. Songs that take you places a man has been and allow you to share the journey. There’s dark and light here - making your way through the words of ‘Girl On The Road’ hits hard, as does the mood-rich vocals of ‘The Lighthouse/ When You Go Away’, then ‘Why Can’t I’ kicks in with wicked fiddle cuts that force you to tap your toes.
On ‘To Evangeline’ Alister Atkin handles guitar, mandolin and vocals and The Ghost Line Carnival are Russ Grooms (double bass, vocals) Geoffery Richardson (viola, violin, mandolin, cello, spoons, cuatro, vocals) Lee Cornwall cajon, vocals) Aidan Shepherd (accordion, piano, vocals) and Annie Whitehead (trombone).
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Reviewer: Tim Carroll