The Dusty Miller

George Papavgeris - Ordinary Heroes
Irregular Records Irr055

His name bandied about as a contender in the singer-songwriter stakes, (“George is something special” – Martin Carthy) the time could be right for Papavgeris to secure a niche as a man of the people with his fifth album. The Irregular imprint is synonymous with right-on-ness and this release is no exception. Largely exploring the individual’s place in the scheme of things, ‘Ordinary Heroes’ as the term implies, pays homage to the silent majority of decent homo sapiens giving it their best shot in an ever-desolate world of greyness, exploitation and cheapening human values.

Born in Thessalonika but on-and-off the UK scene for over thirty years, George draws on wide-ranging sources for his subject matter. The care-free euphoria of ‘Friends Like These’ celebrating the fellowship of shared musical experience gives way to the forlorn regret of ‘Langemarck’, the town near Ypres with its massive German WW1 cemetery and a lamentation for the lives wasted in that futile conflict. ‘Hole House’ evokes a beautiful spacious landscape bounded by bird song and a soft breeze to describe a favourite Lake District place, and tones of introspection in the touching (Without You On) ‘Christmas Day’ are varied by the fired-up ‘Bite Of The Underdog’ and the chillingly prescient ‘The Flowers And The Guns’ which meditates on the loss of youthful idealism. Unsettling, and cold comfort for those of us who once thought we really could change the world. Papavgeris’ tonal palette extends beyond his guitar/vocals and utilises among others, Miranda Sykes, Anahata and Saskia Tomkins to gracefully enhance an often beguiling sound. Ordinary lives maybe, but gripping stories no less, compellingly told - these songs soar like freshly laundered linen on the line.

With credibility that can’t be faulted, this is a sincere and honest album with its heart firmly sewed to its sleeve.

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.