Not Wasting Away
Greg Clifford’s Debut Album
Review by Liam Oragh
I decided to wait a while; to let the afterglow of Greg’s launch gig fade a little from my mind before stoking the embers again with his studio songs and before coming back to review his debut album which is simply titled Greg Clifford.
But it is true that songs will shine that bit brighter having heard them first live – Revolver
being the classic example – that powerfully performed song that he completely lost himself him – was such a delight to come back to, to revel in its jazzy and funky groove. But while Revolver was the highlight of Greg’s debut EP it’s only one of several highlights on the new long player. Kicking off with the Beatles infused opener ‘Colours in the Sky’
– my mind is immediately drawing comparisons with those seminal opening guitar riffs of ‘Day Tripper’ but there’s also an edge to this that is almost Thin Lizzy like – it’s certainly Dublin-based rock that is very comfortable showing off its influences and colours – and as I knew from the live performance, Greg is very comfortable with a band-like vibe. There’s also more than a tinge of the Monkees about this – so we know right from the off that we’re in for a fun ride..
might be the one Greg is most proud of – this is more of a musical journey than a song – with a subtlety of arrangements and a production that shines – this is a song that has been crafted and nurtured and it really brings you along with a sentiment we can all relate to: “I don’t know what I want from life – cause I’m changing everyday.” There’s also something very comforting and dreamlike about this song; it’s like a companion that you can draw strength from as you travel along: “and I don’t have to worry, cause I’ve got my friends and family by my side.”
Worth mentioning also that on this track, which originally was written as part of an RTE documentary, that Greg performs guitar, vocals, bass, drums,
piano, harmonium, glockenspiel, glass harmonics (I’m not gonna pretend I know what that is..) and arranged the parts for the additional instruments including Violin (played by Dylan Curran), Viola (Vlad Pulbar), Cello (Eimear O’Grady) and Flute (Jack Sherry). And it’s this multi-instrumentalist dimension that colours all Greg’s work and makes him a very complete and accomplished package. Ps – he also likes beating the hell out of drum-box cajons at MT Sessions – good therapy that!
On the Road is another tune that really rolls along – very different than live it really reveals itself as a studio piece – driven right from the off with Greg’s dexterous acoustic guitar technique; and it does have the vibe of an American Road song at times – I could almost imagine it being covered by a big Country rock band.
Nuages Sombres is the surprise instrumental inclusion which envelopes the listener up in its luscious wind and string arrangements – this wouldn’t have gone amiss on the soundtrack to The Mission.
When you’re Gone
is a gorgeous emotional ballad – and it’s where Greg unashamedly wears his Lennon/McCartney influence – short sweet powerful – I love the authenticity of Greg’s singing too even down to his Dublin pronunciation of things without the h – this is real and it’s a beautiful piece. And the album closer is a alternatively arranged reprise of this track (guitars away and piano and strings and horns out) – worth coming back to for double pleasure..
And while there are several other tracks to nod and sway along to, the album highlight and Greg’s best track for me is Wasting Away; it encompasses everything that the guy is about – from its funky classical guitar opening flourishes – to its wicked groove – Greg’s technical ability especially on the guitar, lets you know what a talented musician he is but doesn’t overpower you – a wonderful balance on an album that I wouldn’t hesitate recommending.
Greg’s MT Channel
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Category: CD Reviews