Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5
The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band is one of a handful of Northern British outfits frequently booked for their fully functional credentials as an exciting live band, more than capable of finishing off an afternoon, an evening or an entire festival in style. Wearing their folk rock roots very much on their sleeves, embellished here and there with some notable rogue folk and alt country elements as well as the occasional sea shanty, together with an almost tangible sense of fun, the band seem to be tailor made for live performance. In the studio, their repertoire, mostly made up of Jon’s original songs, transfers quite well, with the band’s endeavour to capture the same energy. There’s ample strummed guitars, skittering fiddle runs and lilting mandolin chops, all of which drive the songs along, whether they concern little earthquakes, cold winds and whiskey, or just the sweet innocent ignorance of love. There’s also a cheeky nod towards Snow Patrol during the instrumental interlude on “On the Day I Stumbled Into You” – in the words of the great Barry Norman “and why not?” Throughout, Jon and the band maintain a firm grip on good time folk music, despite pointing out in the lyric of “Barleycorn Boy”, it’s not a folk song because “nobody dies, nobody drowns and nobody gets lost at the fair” a veritable anthem to the folk song tradition nevertheless. There’s The Waterboys, Oysterband and Saw Doctors, and then there’s Otley’s favourite band, and with this album, very definitely at the top of their game.