By: Pete Whalley, Get Ready to Rock
Weasel Records [Release date 05.05.17]
When Midwest based guitarist / singer-songwriter Willy Porter started out, the success of the single ‘Angry Words’ (from his 1994 album Dog-Eared Dream) led to touring slots with the like of Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, The Cranberries, Sting, Paul Simon, and Jeff Beck.
But over the years, and 10 albums in, he’s evolved into a gifted finger-style guitarist focused more on acoustic based songs.
With vocalist Carmen Nickerson having contributed cameos on his last couple of releases, Bonfire To Ash finds him teaming up with her for their first collaborative release, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn).
The result is an easy on the ear album that blends well with the Crosby, Stills & Nash generation of songwriters and performers. Lead vocals are shared, and the album never settles into a single groove, instead skipping from the jazz infused opener ‘There Goes Rhyming Simon’, ‘Old Red Barn’ and ‘Echo Of Love’, though the mildly funky ‘Plant A Garden’ and ‘In Bloom’, to the plaintive folk/country ‘Living Proof’ and ‘Loving On Her Mind’, and rock ‘n’ roll, Lou Reed influenced, ‘Earthquake’.
A new Buckingham Nicks? Perhaps not, but Bonfire To Ash is a thoroughly engaging and charming release. Make your own mind up by checking the album out at Bandcamp.com or on the duo’s May UK promotional tour. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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