Covers maven from Buckinghamshire rides into the sunset.
Turns out, while leading band called DIRTY MAVIS all over the pub circuit and delivering an occasional original tune among the crowd’s faves, Martin Davis has always dreamt of playing country. And that’s what the Englishman does for the most part on his solo debut, making the main point twice with “I Wanna Be A Cowboy” – in an upbeat electric and plaintive acoustic manner – and spiking it with a dose of humorous nostalgia. Styling spot-on and commercial edge taken care of rather authentically from opener “Gimme All You Got (Las Vegas)” on, there’s enough enjoyable rumble, yet for all its good intent the album’s best spots are non-Western-shaped, even though Davis’ take on Bobby Womack’s “All Over Now” feels fine given the back-porch treatment.
So where the brass-boiled “A Little Bit Of Love” sounds like pastiche and “After The Rain” and “Hot Summer Rain” come warm, indeed, it’s two more serious tracks that hitch one’s attention here. The title ballad, drenched in strings and pouring pain and poetry out of its piano line and deep voice, and the prairie blues of “The Girl From Texakarna,” as it runs from the sparse swampy licks to the banjo-strummed filigree, ooze pure magic. But it’s back to the bar in the end of the day, with “Staying With My Beer,” which leaves a nice aftertaste – and a feeling that maybe Martin Davis’ true talent spans much wider than country he’s chosen to explore.