Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Heirs and Graces

As t'interweb dissolves in faux outrage over Yes Scotland campaigners turning Typhoid Johann (or Joanne as Ed Milliband called her in his speech) Lamont's disgraceful "Independence is a Virus" on it's head and proudly proclaiming their TSV+ status (The Scottish Virus Positive), it's time to take a chill pill and leave the politics aside.

I have the breaking strain of a KitKat. A couple of messages from friends raving about Adam Holmes And The Embers' debut album Heirs and Graces and, despite having pre-ordered the CD, I couldn't resist downloading it from iTunes.  Well, he's in Austria or somesuch place and there's no way I could hold out till he gets back. It was well worth it. 

Scotland has produced many good musicians, songwriters and singers and a fair few great ones. Once in a blue moon we are privileged to be around on this Earth when a true genius comes along and Adam Holmes is just that. To get that musical and lyrical talent in one person together with the delicious timbre of his voice is a rarity indeed. His dry, smoky voice is so understated you don't really understand why it captivates you so much until you really listen and discover a vocal range and dexterity of technique that is quite simply amazing.

Though only in his early twenties, Adam writes and performs with a maturity and depth way beyond his years. Musically, the arrangements are sublime. There is a rare economy in the arrangements and he knows just how long to suspend a note for maximum effect, though nothing comes across as contrived.

If you like your music honest and your songs heartfelt, you'll enjoy this album which would sit seamlessly in a playlist alongside John Martyn. Hey, don't take my word for it. Just look at the line-up that were keen to contribute to this debut album: 

Produced by John Wood (Fairport, Nick Drake, John Martyn)
Mastered by Simon Heyworth (Mike Oldfield, George Harrison)


Adam Holmes - Guitar, Accordion and Vocals
Kris Drever - Guitar, Harmonium and Vocals
Steven Blake - Keyboards
Alex Hunter - Bass
Calum McIntyre - Drums, Percussion and Vibes
CiarĂ¡n Ryan - Fiddle
Stuart Goodall - Guitar and Vocals
Alan Train - Pedal Steel.
Hannah Beaton - Vocals.
Simon Walker - Drums. 

You'll get an idea from these BBC recordings of their live performance at the Brew at the Bog Festival.

You can download Heirs and Graces by Adam Holmes and the Embers on iTunes or at Amazon for only £6.90. I thoroughly recommend it.