Once A Day

Nick West's reviews for Bucketfull Of Brains and Rock'N'Reel

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Co-editor and publisher of Bucketfull Of Brains since 1996.

Friday, December 05, 2008


CHRISTOPHER REES

Cautionary Tales

(RED EYE)
www.redeyemusic.co.uk


There are some dire warnings on Christopher Rees’ Cautionary Tales but none come as strong as this; don’t fail to hear it! Out of left field, out of the wilds of mid Wales, he’s come along with an album of remarkable songs to stir up the somewhat becalmed waters of Americana.

Rees is a pretty fine guitarist and does excellent things with a resonator slide; he’s also got a voice of singular variety. Comparisons to Jeff Buckley are generally grotesquely inappropriate, but Rees seems to be the exception that proves the rule. He’s not however a showy singer, always taking his cue from the song. His voice flies to high, lonesome peaks on the Appalachian-flecked ‘Bucket Full Of Holes’ but on the bluesy ‘How Did You Sleep Last Night?’ it’s more restrained.

These contrasts, which are reflected in the careful choice and spread of instrumentation, hold the interest throughout, as nothing is ever predictable. For the southern soul duet ‘Bottom Dollar’ he brings in strings and coaxes from Victoria Williams an unusually effective performance. And on the final, devastating ‘Until Love Comes Around Again’ he’s got Charline Rose doing Jane Birkin quite handsomely.

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