Coalshed Music 2020
Locating himself in the mist of time, worldwide-traveling hermit cooks most delicious dish to take one on a trip through the ages.
Only a few years have passed since Davey Dodds delivered his solo debut which signaled the singer’s return to the folk fray, yet while "Kernowcopia" suggested a sparer approach than one last demonstrated on RED JASPER’s "Anagramary" back in 2007, it didn’t take him too long to get back from a fly-fishing mentorship to a full fantasy swing. Sporting an elder statesman look that defies his youthful spirit, the Cornish artist arrived at a riveting concept to marry two primary strands of his creative DNA, traditional motifs and pagan prog, whose melodic layering and arrangements will spellbind the listeners on the likes of “Dancing With The Jedi” – an instrumental essence of this album – and elicit a smile on their faces.
The album’s momentum seems to build slowly once “Lucia” has flown in delicately in the weave of Dodds’ mandolins and tin whistle and wrapped around one’s ears as Davey’s telling a story, in a soft if assertive voice, of piscine and divine variety. Yet, in fact, the veteran’s taking his flock into the deep whence no surfacing is allowed until the tripartite titular epic wraps up the record with an increasingly tense, stained-glass-like, fragile grandiosity that’s poised to juxtapose old times and modern life in an arrestingly arcane manner. It’s the sort of escapism he always was great at and elevated to a whole new level now.
The enchanting dances of the wordless “Sheep Crook And Black Dog” and “The Rocky Road To Bodmin” feel deceptively parochial – it’s a short ride between this town and Kernow where the singer’s situated – and the pieces’ strum, propelled by frame drum, may be adventurously gloomy, but they’re emotionally immense, and the urban claustrophobia behind “Three Lines And A Whip” lifts the darkness only to seduce an unexpecting soul with pipes’ drone and smarmy vocals that dip innocence in the illicit experience. Which is why “Sing The Sun” sounds so jubilant after Dodds and Colette DeGiovanni join forces for a duo possessed of a powerful, Beltane-fueled vibe, and “The Drinking Song” – with Jim Mageean, who first recorded the Davey-penned ditty four decades ago, chiming – folds out into an entrancing, initially a cappella-shaped ballad.
The results of it all are utterly mesmeric – as assumingly should be the consequences of savoring toadstool soup – and the effect must last for quite a time, allowing Davey Dodds to concoct even more inebriating brew.