Melancholy Waltz – Richie Lawrence (Big Book Records)
This is what music is meant to do. I am transported from a weak summer day, still losing its battle with should be long gone winter, to standup flying through the shadows and the heat and sleepy heaviness of somewhere deep in old America.
This is stripped down dreamtime, breathing slow, deep and moody.
When the vocals start (accompanied by seductive accordion) they are laid back but almost flirtatious, in ‘Danielle’ one gets the impression that even if the woman in question is angry enough to THINK about leaving, she is also charmed by the gentle nostalgia of the playing.
Within the title track, Lawrence blends the sad dramatic with a sense of liberation, this and the other songs are flickering ancient images of battles fought and, again, one is taken back to the feel of dreams, the hopefulness perhaps of the weary optimist.
These are songs that soothe the savage self pity of the barroom late night, in awe of the days past, in love with the possibilities of the here and now.
Magically Lawrence creates secular hymns crossed with just the right hint of music hall bawdiness. When there is regret it is gentle and when there is love it is profound and utterly moving.
This collection is an escape, played pure, from the heart.
Hear tracks and thoughts from Richie Lawrence about the album on the NBT Podcast of the 13th May