Link to Living Tradition Homepage





THE DRYSTONES - A Tale Of Sound And Fury

THE DRYSTONES - A Tale Of Sound And Fury
Private Label

Where do they keep coming from? How can they be so good when they’re not even in their twenties, and why was the name Drystones a new one on me until this little package plopped through the letterbox? Well the latter mystery is all down to me of course – if only I could get by on three hours’ sleep a night, I’d have the time to be aware of so much more!

Alex Garden (fiddle) and Ford Collier (guitar, whistle) who both handle vocal duties, won’t be out of their teens until next year, but the two Somerset-born and bred school friends have each been playing music since their ages were in single figures. This record follows on from 2012’s debut The Album (Or What You Will). The lads got their break and indeed their initial gig at Priddy Festival the previous year when Ford’s dad, as chair, needed an act to fill a slot in his programming at short notice – since when they haven’t looked back.

What gives here then aurally? To describe their instrumental style as spirited and animated would be akin to asserting that Bellowhead can be quite an energetic band.

Tunes predominate, whether well-chosen covers such as Damien O’Kane’s Seasick Dee or own compositions such as the opening Hemp Jig. Rahsaan Roland Kirk would’ve been proud of Ford’s ability to play more than one whistle at once on Have A Drink On Me, whilst the vocal tracks span Gillian Welch’s Rock Of Ages and the traditional Van Diemen’s Land. The rhythm is fleshed out unobtrusively on this release by ‘additional sounds’ (sic) from producers/engineers Will Lang and Tom Wright.

A minor point - the singing can be somewhat tentative compared with their vibrant playing, but assurance will grow as voices mature like a good Syrah and gigs mount up. YouTube demonstrates they certainly don’t lack any self-confidence!

You’ll have noted the Shakespearian references in their album titles but the latest ‘signifying nothing’ implication from the Scottish Play is a misnomer when applied to two fine musicians whom one can hardly imagine as “poor players, strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage.” Confidently barnstorming to a three encore crescendo would nail it far more accurately!

Clive Pownceby

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.