RODDY WOOMBLE - My Secret Is My Silence

RODDY WOOMBLE - My Secret Is My Silence

As a reviewer I always try not to read what others have written, something which is easy, as most of the national press ignore what we are asked to review. However I couldn't help but notice a lot of praise has already been bestowed on My Secret is My Silence, as well as radio time and a short tour to promote it. Strange really as, I would suggest, Roddy Woomble is a name unfamiliar to many.

Digging deeper I realised the CD was produced by John McCusker - excellently I must point out - with the players including Dave Burland, Kate Rusby, Cara Dillon, and Michael McGoldrick - not to mention Karine Polwart. But who is Roddy Woomble that he merits such a cast on this his first solo project? Hailing from Scotland, he was one of the founder members of the successful Idlewild, along with Rod Jones, who also plays acoustic guitar on this album. Over the ten years of their existence, Idlewild have been moving more towards acoustic music with their 2005 album showing real signs of this. Roddy is taking time out from the band to make and promote this CD.

The words for all but one track have been written by Roddy and the other hasn't any being a John McCusker track. The first track I Came in From the Mountain lulls one into a wrong sense of security, with stunningly emotive vocals over Ian Carr's acoustic guitar before being joined by Kate's vocals as only she can. A sudden awakening follows when As Still I Watch Your Grave is pure folk rock-driving electric guitar and pounding drums. And so it goes on with each track having something which demands you listen, and that's what I have been doing, although I am still not sure the acappella opening on one track fits the rest of it. There are echoes of influences all over the place but I'll leave you to find those.

But is Roddy Woomble just surrounding himself with top players to bring his material to a different audience, like some do with so-called solo offerings? DEFFINITELY NOT. His material is well written and accessible and there is a real feeling that he has enjoyed making My Secret is My Silence. It is a real class album which should not be judged on genre but on the strength of the music, which for once the nationals are doing. I have really enjoyed this and hope he will tour it again when other commitments allow.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 70 of The Living Tradition magazine.