Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5
Wayward Jane have so much going for them musically, not least the voice of Sam Gillespie, whose instantly identifiable tones bring a warmth to the songs on the Edinburgh-based quartet’s second album release. “Hills of Mexico” is infused with everything that makes Old Time folk music accessible today, with a percussive banjo, skittering fiddle, unintrusive double bass, all of which brings the best out of Gillespie’s lead voice and Rachel Walker’s almost subliminal backing vocal. A fine start to an album of fine songs and instrumentals.
If the excellent “September” and the title song highlight both ends of Gillespie’s vocal range, then “Lyra’s Tune” and “Sandy’s Mudcat” showcase the instrumental prowess of all four musicians, without any obvious pointless ‘sore fingers’ showiness. Rachel Walker’s voice can be enjoyed on “Carolina”, her regional dialect clearly cutting through, successfully bridging the Atlantic Ocean with panache. Throughout the album, there’s a live feel devoid of clutter and ruthless overdubbing, focusing instead on the sound the band presumably aim for when standing before their audiences, of which this reviewer wishes to be part of before too long. With fine interpretations of the Son House blues “County Farm” and Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues”, Old Train is almost guaranteed to find its way onto your player time and time again.
Choice Track: “September” (NSV 492)