Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Splid Records SPLIDCD26 

Otley-based songwriter Jon Palmer and his merry crew’s stock-in-trade is solid, feelgood folk-rock; they’ve a reputation as one of West Yorkshire’s crucial live acts (no journalistic cliché, I assure you). His current band fully justifies the oft-invoked comparisons with hallowed acts such as Lindisfarne, The Waterboys, Merry Hell, The Saw Doctors and The Pogues – to which I might usefully add The Durbervilles, whose mainman David Crickmore is producer-in-charge for Jon’s latest offering. The label “acoustic band” might mislead slightly, in that the line-up includes drums – and on this, their third studio album, electric guitar (played by guest Baz Warne or the multi-skilled Mr Crickmore). But there’s a welcome lightness of touch and a sensitivity in the band arrangements (and recorded balance) that renders the blend attractive, listenable and irresistible. The standard of musicianship is unstintingly high too – cue namechecks for Wendy Ross, Matt Nelson and Roy Whyke – and singer Edwina Hayes – inter alia.

All of which would count for nought if Jon’s own songs were not of such honest-to-goodness quality, with memorable hooks and strong melodic interest (and earworms aplenty!) to set his ideas into relief. He deals with familiar topics of course, but always has something thoughtful to say and while he uses time-honoured themes and images, there’s no sense of derivativeness in the album’s dozen songs, just a comforting conviviality. The generally good-time carefree vibe that comes from well-honed live crowd-pleasing still allows for depth in the lyrics, and Jon is refreshingly unafraid to discuss weightier issues, as on Little England, Bridges Not Walls and Everytime You Bang The Drum.

There can be no doubt that Jon and his band have successfully made the transition from thoroughly reliable live act to excellent representation on record, and One Fine Day soon you’ll be buying this CD and filing it under “keeper”.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 134 of The Living Tradition magazine