Album Review: Six Days In May, The Stawhall House Band

American roots coming straight from the fair city.

Sounding nothing like their moniker might suggest, The Strawhall House Band trade in a blend of soul, country, blues, rock and gospel. Featuring members of Dublin pub-rock stalwarts Rag Mama Rag and Fat Chance, Six Days In May was recorded with Dave Odlum in his Black Box studios in France. It’s as authentic as it gets.

‘Makin’ It So’ – a second cousin of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ with a bit of ‘Dark End Of The Street’ thrown in – is a strong tune by any measure and the vocals, guitars and churchy organ add realism and depth. With some really great ensemble playing and a strong arrangement, ‘Carolina Gold’ is pure Southern soul and sounds like it might have been recorded at Muscle Shoals, Alabama sometime in the late 1960s.

A swaggering country rock tune, ‘29’ blends a mix of influences, but there are hints of The Band, Dan Penn, Ry Cooder, Tony Joe White and more. The influence of The Band, and Levon Helm in particular, features even more strongly on ‘Walking Side By Side’ – which namechecks the late drummer’s legendary Midnight Ramble sessions. Elsewhere, ‘Almost Over You’ offers some Western-style Lyle Lovett-inclined swing-jazz, while the lovely country waltz ‘Candles’ channels classic country of the Willie Nelson and George Jones variety. A hugely enjoyable effort.

 

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