I have often heard it said that country music is to The US what folk music is to The UK. And whilst any country music found in the Old World is definitely the result of cross-Atlantic sonic appropriation, such a sentiment is to deny the rich and long-established American Folk Tradition. Which I have capitalised just to emphasis the point. And Jeremy Dion sits right at the Sharpe end of that sonic line. Gedit?
Sharpe and Dion is a gentle collection of lilting acoustic songs, some firmly in the folk tradition, others at least on nodding terms with Americana and bluegrass. But if you take the stance, as I do, that folk music is both a boundary-less musical category and that the music that springs for its creative well is the platform to which almost all music owes a debt of gratitude, then we need to talk no more about genres and the like.
There are playful, pop-infused songs such as Bernadette, deeper, emotive and more philosophical numbers such as Last Time to Question, funky and ornate songs that remind you of a newly solo Paul Simon, Concrete, and the sassy and singalong-able Blowin’ Smoke.
If the image of folk music is a bearded guy in a cable knit sweater with a finger in his ear or strumming a 12-string guitar (after all, you can’t do both very effectively) singing Nova Scotian sea shanties to a room of pipe smoking, plaid shirted people called Brian, then you need this album to remind you that folk music can be as accessible, fun, honest and able to move with the times as any other genre, you just need to find the right artist. Jeremy Dion is the right artist.