‘The Unravelling’ by Red Bird Sky - makes you sit up and take notice(September 08, 2014)
For some time now there’s been a rise in the calibre of 'homegrown' Americana influence from these shores. Naturally, the imported variety still offers all it ever did but now the UK turns out ‘the real thing’ with increasing regularity, ranging from traditional Americana folk and ballads to intense folk rock; add the influence of indigenous heritage and you have Red Bird Sky. The rich variety and originality of their music captures from the first. Built around the songwriting, musical and vocal skills of Bernie Maguire and Mike Seal, this is raw-spirit music with sufficient strength to drive home the hardest message – listen to their album ‘The Unravelling’ and you’re right there.
Their songs are unafraid to deal with tough issues, taking the message to the song and making its presence echo in your ears. From wider exploration to personal examination, Maguire and Seal take their music into places that make you sit up and take notice. The album opens from a rockier spectrum with a hard tale of ending abuse ‘She Ain’t Looking Back’, moving into the pulsing‘Being Human’ - the observing lyrics continue to bite hard and the band shows what a tight-knit unit it really is. A softer edge comes through mournful, string-embellished accounts of the title track ‘The Unravelling’, the gentle sadness of ‘Coming Back Into The Light’ and the profound understanding and personal resilience portrayed in ‘Travellin’ Light’. Throughout this album there comes across a wave of elaborate musicianship combined with powerful vocals leading through sorrow and resignation to deliberation and defiance.
Red Bird Sky are: Bernie Maguire (songwriter, lead vocals) Mike Seal (songwriter, guitars, bass) Maighread Hegarty (backing vocals) and Gabriella Gamesi (violin, viola) with Mark Schlotel (bass guitar) Oliver Garrett (harmonica, keyboards) and Paul Miller (violin).
Reviewer: Tom Franks