Red Dirt Skinners - "Sinking The Mary Rose" - Album
Barely eighteen months ago, The Hat saw this talented duo playing in the corner of a small cramped room in a now closed bar in Hebden Bridge. Much impressed, I wrote then that I was certain that we would be seeing a lot more of them and their highly original style. Now, such a short time later, they have a great new evocative name, are clutching a handful of award nominations in both British Blues and British Country and they have produced yet another top class album that is a wonderful magic bag of country, blues, blue grass and rootsy down-home americana.
The album demonstrates exactly why this exceptional multi-instrumental husband and wife team are making such a mark. The ten tracks, mostly self-penned, range from the slow and heart-breaking 'Just 18' to the get-up-and-dance 'Idabel Blues'. Throughout, they give us the tightest of warm harmonies and some quite brilliant instrumentals and solo vocals. Notably, the album is bursting with fine and sensitive lyrics and it is impossible not to to be moved by the sad but beautifully expressed sentiments in 'Alone' and 'Black Eyes', this last being a tough, Dory Previn-like statement of the gritty truth about a violent relationship. The short title track positively spits anger about a moment in their lives from which they need to move on.
You will find jazz and blues here as well and throughout, the soaring, roaring and sometimes wild and mad saxophone of Sarah Skinner winds its way through the album like a capricious friend with Rob providing a whole orchestra of support. Two fine musicians, song-writers and singers have delivered a hugely entertaining and accomplished piece of work.