Album Reviews
Band: Cormac Neeson 

Title: White Feather

Label: 7Hz Productions

You couldn't get Stormzy to sing Opera, Taylor Swift to sing the Blues, or Madonna to sing ... well, to sing, period (Eurovision anyone!!), but, by Hell, you can certainly get a Rock star to sing Country.  Steven Tyler showed us how it should be done, Danny Worsnop definitely took us all by surprise, and now Cormac Neeson, lead vocalist with the brilliant The Answer has taken time out from his day job and come up with a debut solo album that he must be very proud of, and I promise you this, folks, you will end up with tears in the eyes and a lump in the throat when listening to his lovely, heart on the sleeve songs on show here. Here goes ...

Right from the opening few chords on the title track, you're hooked by the simple, gentle keys and guitars, Cormac's voice tailor - made for this song, his relaxing Rod-rasp not raising above a mellow tone, helped along by some summery, laid-back harmonies from Siobhan Brown, Jean Michelo and Amy Montgomery, topped off by the exquisite pedal steel from John Heinrich, bleeding marvelous chaps! That laid-back vibe filters down into 'Do Something Today', possibly a personal moment here for Cormac by the look at the lyrics, but he's willing to wear his heart where we can all see it, no more so on the glorious 'Broken Wing', singing about his lovely Son, Dabhog, who has Down Syndrome, and all I want to say about this song is read/listen to the words....says it all really. Nice one, Cormac, well done.

'Don't Wait' is a fab slow-burner that could be described as a modern-day Yacht Rock classic in the making (yeah, I saw BBC4 last week!), it's toe-tapping tempo eventually coming into play as the song moves along from acoustic to jabbing electric guitar and Hammond keys coming lightheartedly together to chase any dark clouds away, followed by a love song that tugs at the heart for all the right reasons, 'Sweet Gentle Love's meaningful lyrics serenaded gently amid the joint electric/acoustic guitars, rimmed drumming with tender keys that send shivers up the spine, and when those harmonies shimmer in, well....job done, get the hankies out! Could 'Oh Son' be an ode to his Father? This stomp-along, workman-like track is so casual you'd think the person in question was in the same room as Cormac, being almost conversational-like in it's approach which is it's appeal, then the shanty styled 'Song That Lives Forever' continues with that close, personal theme, with the banjo(!!) making appearance via Charles Pevahouse. And why not!!

He hits the lump in the throat button once again as he faces his own demons during the Country ballad 'Look Down On Me;, searching for some kind of divine intervention whilst the grey clouds hang over, that pedal steel doing it's utmost to add to that tear-jerking vibe that flows from this agile song, then the ghost of Nick Drake casts  shadow over the minimalistic 'Artefact', everything is there, instruments, vocals, harmonies, but the sound is nicely compact, not,,,,overpowering, if you get my drift? That Celtic shanty aura surrounds the sing-along chorused 'Home To Me', where Cormac flexes his vocal chords to really hit the higher notes when pushed, though they do get to relax during the keys-led Hothouse Flowers meets Train country/pop gem 'Everywhere But Here', the tempo held back a touch as not to get over excited as it could easily have done, especially when the guitar solo takes over, so luckily a jazz nightclub styled horn (trumpet?) comes along and escorts the song to it's finale. The Hammond makes another appearance throughout the RnB tasted 'What You Do To Me', as does another floating solo that gives the track a swift kick up the jacksy for good measure, yet those personal, heartfelt moments aren't quite finished just yet as the final track, 'Whole Again' has bouts of insecurity seeping through via the lyrics from Cormac, those keys this time very similar to a Bruce Hornsby style if I'm honest.

If you're looking for some The Answer rocking from Cormac Neeson on this album, you'll be disappointed, this isn't where he intended to go here, but what you do get is a very personal set of songs that portray a maturity to the man, especially lyrically, and the fact that this album got to no.4 in the British Country Charts if my memory serves me right, more or less says it all ... again. An absolute cracking album, Cormac!!!!!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  White Feather
2.  Do Something Today
3.  Don't Wait
4.  Broken Wing
5.  Sweet Gentle Love
6.  Oh Son
7.  Song That Lives Forever
8.  Look Down On Me
9.  Artefact
10. Home To Me

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