Essentially Telegraph is the work of Kevin Doherty (of Four Men And A Dog) and a strong supporting cast. Doherty has written the songs, delivers the lead vocals and has produced the album, so maybe it should be a Kevin Doherty solo album called Telegraph. That one of the songs is titled Country Music may give some a clue as to the overall mood of the album, though in truth that's not really just that. These are relaxed, laid back, roots-filled songs that pitch their tent in different locations from Camden Street to East Virginia. There are hints of a lot of things here, a touch of Tindersticks, a pinch of Mr. Cohen and a spoonful of old-time music, informed by Atha Cliath as much as Appalachia, all mixed in among the ingredients that make up this music. There is understanding and tenderness within these songs for those in exile and those who left for a great calling. There's love for people and for places and there's the journey of a pilgrim, looking for life and love along the way. The music is acoustic, gentle, understated and at all times adds atmosphere and texture to Doherty's likable, lambent voice. Telegraph hasn't sent us words of wonder, of new territory or new boundaries rather the simple message here is of looking again at the familiar, the friendly and the ways in which we falter. www.telegraph.ie
The second track here may sum up the album's overall direction, A Little More Country Than That, that likely being his pop and rock sounding contemporaries who currently trade as country artists. Much of this is, doubtless, due to the production values of producer and former Keith Whitley sideman Carson Chamberlin. The steel is mostly exuberent and well to the fore, the guitars are twangy rather than in overdrive. That said it is still an album that promises more than it actually delivers. Rather it represents a good start to the career of an artist with a solid dependable voice that overall, and this is also true of the album, sounds like a close relation to the body of work of George Strait. And Strait's one work has it's high and low points. There are several lyrical themes that are full of cliches of what country music is today. These include A Little More Country Than That and That'll Make You Want To Drink both fun songs but somewhat generic. But that may sound a little overly critical of what is an solid and definably country album that when the songs are bolstered by a catchy riff are memorable. Songs like The Way Love Looks On You, Don't Ask Me About A Woman and A Lot To Learn About Livin'. The latter is one of those Buffett-esque songs that are in favour these days in country circles. Easton Corbin is off to a good enough start but let's hope that some of the songs can get a little more depth and grit the next time out.
A entrancing brother/sister duo of Brad and Jessica Lauretti who play a style of folk music that reminds of early Fairport Convention and their contemporaries as well as some of the more stripped down folk music being made today in America. It is neither old time or Appalachian, rather it is folk music that is influenced by the Smiths as much as Woody Guthrie Dolly Parton as much as Joan Baez. In other words what they play and the way they play draws of a range of influences that is wide and eclectic. The result is an album of self-written songs that start with the Brad's guitar, his voice and Jessicas. From that base they add textures like flute, violin, percussion as well as bass and electric guitar on songs like Leopard Eyes and No More War. There is, at times, a sombre melancholy at the heart of these songs but overall the music is uplifting and untrammelled. The sibling harmonies are as strong and striking as you would expect and add much to the overall atmosphere of the music. It is the sort of album that draws you in and one you can find much to admire on repeated plays. With musical frontiers becoming increasingly blurred we need to find heroes where we can.You might find some frontierneedsheroes.com.