Andy Bob Beaumont : Shed Songs2016 : Turquoise Coal
Shed Songs is a solo album by a North Wales' stalwart Andy Bob Beaumont, who also leads rock/blues band The Scapegoats; you'd never have to scan too far through a What's On guide in the region to find him or his band playing.
The album collects a number of songs that have appeared in his live set, and a group of experienced and able musicians to play them, with Matt Bicknell's sax especially noteworthy. It has been neatly engineered by Simon Darvell.
Metaphorically there's a feel of relaxed Sunday afternoon beer garden running through the set, rather than raucous Friday night lounge bar - there's a blues influence but it's mostly smooth and wry rather than rough-edged and tortured.
It opens with the bright, almost upbeat Head over heels, qualified because there's a slight twist in the song's narrative, and this is followed by the most musically elemental song here, the blues of Travelling shoes.
Three songs in and Sail into the sunset is an amiable track about taking the chance to make a fresh start, then the slightly world weary Red to blonde has a lovely picked guitar line - leading to Silver lining, with a lyric about digging yourself out of the clouded blues by making yourself see a silver lining.
Perhaps the most personal track here is Ball with no bounce, which is a heartfelt song about attitudes to the ME his wife has suffered - it's questioning rather than angry, but you can sense the frustration behind it. More abstractly Last cigarette is a rueful track about a relationship that starts with all the necessary electricity but flounders - whilst Fantasy world reflects on the delusions of painfully unrequited love. These three are a plaintive run of songs - and although the next track Letters has swing, it too is full of (final) regret as an angry jealous lover burns the letters that represented their partners' past.
The penultimate song, Daily life, has the ring and sound to it of early seventies singer songwriters, and is about the world still going about its business on the day when a friend dies.
Shed Songs closes with the shuffling, rolling blues of The Bearded bard - it's an album that grows on you quickly, and in truth it does it just as much because of the warmth of character and worldly wisdom it presents, as for the music.