You know within two seconds of Rachel Harrington’s opening track ‘Hush The Wild Horses’ where you’re about to go. The classic mix of acoustic guitar and fiddle blending to put you at ease and leave you in no doubt that you’re going on a journey into America’s music.
Having been called “the hardest working woman in Americana” comes with it’s own pressure but between July and October the American singer/song writer will be playing twenty five plus shows across the UK and Holland, proving her love for taking her music on the road and it’s immediately obvious how easily these songs will suit the stage.
The album is certainly one for purists of American folk and whilst not being for everyone (some will lament the lack of drums throughout) there is much to admire about how Harrington goes about things, from subject matter, the music, the lyrics and all the way to the production. It’s all done with a touch of class and attention to detail. Check out the differing approach from the opener to following track ‘Child Of God’ with its banjo, fiddle and hand claps. Each song is treated individually with decisions being made particularly to serve the tune at hand. We’re then thrown into the regret filled ‘I Meant To Go To Memphis,’ a story of missed chances and wrong decisions. Within these eleven songs are tales of remorse, sadness, looking back and even exploring the affects of war and conflict. ‘The Barn,’ in particularly describing a young man going off to war and, like thousands others, not returning, or, in the case of ‘Mekong Delta’ returning but unable to forget or live with the things witnessed.
Americana music has a way of getting under the skin of such horrors, the power of a voice and lone guitar still evokes the emotion of the listener and to Harrington’s great credit she knows when to tell a story straight and when to hide the subject behind a knowing smile.
We take a step into straight up fifties rock n roll on ‘Drop Zone’ but closer inspection of the words and you’re flying over a Vietnam jungle in a helicopter surrounded by young men taking a sideways smile at the hand fate gave them.
The album will appeal to those with an interest in an Americana style, especially if they have a penchant for songs that aren’t produced with a gimmick or wish to follow the latest fad. It’s an album that you can dip into ten years from now and it will still feel relevant.