Ann Duggan – Dust Upon the Wind

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

By sheer coincidence, I listened to Ann Duggan’s latest album release whilst sitting on a bench at Hull Paragon Interchange, coffee in hand, waiting for the next train bound for the equally alluring town of Doncaster.  As the jingle-jangle of Rob Hines’ guitar opens the first song, I’m amused by the opening lines of “Dust Upon the Wind”, ‘Saw you today, you missed your last train home, You were sitting in the station, drinking coffee on your own..’, it seemed almost poetic that this album would form the soundtrack of my short journey home, with Ann Duggan’s voice effectively commentating on just another day via the lyrics of long-time collaborator Colin Granger.  By Hessel station, as the late afternoon sun set upon the glistening Humber, its imposing suspension bridge towering above the Northern landscape, “Reflections” whispered the optimism of a brighter future after a messy break-up, with the suggestion that there is indeed more fruit on the vine.  Looking out of a carriage window as the train moved forward seemed to suggest a poignant metaphor.  Throughout the album, Ann Duggan traverses the ups and downs of relationships, from a bitter break-up to the reassurance of a brighter future with “Every Step of the Way”, where one protagonist commits to an unbreakable bond with the other.  By Goole, the drama continues through a bluesy “Hurricane”, whilst being transported from the ebbing of an ordinary day in the industrial North of England to the luminescence of a “Carolina Moon”.  “Been Here Before” continues to audibly shape my own situation as ‘Sitting beside the railroad track, Memories of you come flooding back, Waiting for the train to bring you home’ sang in my ear, almost as a lullaby, whilst also reflecting on the bleak faces of those waiting around on the platform as their day likewise awaits the onset of dusk.  My journey almost done, just as the doors of Thorne North’s information office are being locked up for the night, the Country influenced “Songs to Cure the Blues” recalls the many towns, many stations, many miles travelled thus far.  Pulling out of Hatfield and Stainforth station, the CD drew to its close with the appropriate “When the Day is Gone”, which for this reviewer, practically summed up the close of an ordinary spring day.