John Wheeler

Having been a fan of Hayseed Dixie, when the mood grabs me, I was curious as to what form a solo album by “Barley Scotch” would take. With it’s sober brown cover, and a stance no doubt a little inspired by Grant Woods famous painting I wondered what lied within.

Opening with “Down At The Exit” I wondered what would grab me about the album. First impressions and all that. On subsequent plays this track has more to offer than you think with its thought provoking lyrics.

Things took a sharp change with “Doomsday Dance”, this really grabbed my attention. With a sound and lyric that immediately reminded me of The Rainmakers, but a slightly slower tempo,and the violin giving it a darker edge, and if that wasn’t enough of a curve ball the next tracked sounded hauntingly familiar. And I couldn’t just put my finger on why until the chorus. Of course if I had read the tracklisting first I would have known, we have “Eton Rifles”, a brilliantly “English” cover.

The album covers a variety of themes, all addressed in an intimate way, with a sound ranging from bluesy folk, through to the smooth sounding vibe of “Like I Want You” with its emotive heart pouring lyrics. “Deeper In Debt” picks up the tempo with an insightful look into to the current financial predicament most of us are in, not to mention the state most will end up in (could I make that sound any more boring?), whilst “Little Houses In A Row” is a personal take on home life, perhaps even transitional when compared to his prior material. Keeping things interesting is “Kuss Mich Noch Einmal” with its German chorus, a wonderful sounding track

“Wonder Why I Never Go Home”, gives brilliant reflection on the life of living on the road, and no doubt the touring it involves. Another slight curve ball comes in the form of “Black Forest Skies” which is a piano based track, as opposed to guitar, which brings another dimension to the album. Closing the album is “Walk Between The Raindrops” which is a whimsical sounding track, with a sound reminiscent of Randy Newman.

The album strikes me as a deeply personal body of work almost cathartic. A chance to vent emotions and creativity aside from Hayseed, and as much as I like Hayseed, I like forward to more solo work. The tracks on this album lend themselves to what I assume would be a great intimate live show down your local. No ceremony just great music, and a great way to relax.

John Wheeler

“Un-American Gothic” is available now.

Track Listing
1. Down At The Exit
2. Doomsday Dance
3. Eton Rifles
4. Deeper In Debt
5. Little Houses In A Row
6. Küss Mich Noch Einma
7. Like I Want You
8. Street Sweeper Lullaby
9. Wondering Why I Ever Go Home
10. Master of War
11. Black Forest Skies
12. Walk Between the Raindrops


Words by Jon.

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