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"Stunned by the Bard Edrington V album on a first listen. Every track is a cracker, no matter the pace or the mood. Very impressive."

Mike Ritchie (Celtic Music Radio)

Blabber and Smoke- Paul Kerr

Burn You Up 

Fairly hot on the heels of his last release, the superb Two Days In Terlingua, Bard Edrington V returns with Burn You Up, a relatively slimmed down version of its predecessor which, nevertheless, is just as vital a slice of rural American folk music.

We say slimmed down as Edrington is here backed by a more straightforward line up than on Two Days In Terlingua. Basically it’s just him and The Blackbirds (brothers Bill and Jim Parker playing guitars, bass and drums) along with Karina Wilson on fiddle, a compact unit but one which can perfectly deliver tub thumpin’ country rock (as on All I Can Do) one moment and then lay down a song like the glistening Die Into It the next.

Edrington remains a master story teller whether singing of his father (“a truck driver and self made man”) on the opening song Sand And Gravel or recounting the role a bootlegged liquor played in 19thcentury New Mexico as it inflamed the settlers, leading to a revolt which resulted in the death of the then Governor of the state on Taos Lightning. He’s also acutely attuned to his surroundings. The album was recorded was in Santa Fe as a huge wildfire raged only some miles away and on Fire And RainEdrington delivers a lovely reverie which muses on those opposite forces of nature.

The band snake through the gritty All I Can Do in an ornery mood which recalls the best of Waylon Jennings with Wilson delivering a fiery fiddle solo and Back Roads Of My Mind has a delightful sense of Western Swing meets cosmic country to it as Edrington extols the benefits of  the occasional dose of psilocybin. Those hallucinogenic brown pellets also figure on Die Into It which comes across as a mongrel offspring of Carlos Castaneda and Sam Peckinpah, writing a song about an existential crisis. Speaking of Peckinpah, there are movie pickings galore in the glorious country skirls of Two Days In Terlingua which has echoes of Michael Hurley woven within it and on the evocative Chiapas, a delightful border country waltz which evokes, in its essence, Townes Van Zandt.

A veritable bard of American folklore, Edrington deserves to be heard and lauded, both for his solo work and for his albums with The Hoth Brothers. Burn You Up is, simply put, quite wonderful.

Blabber and Smoke- Paul Kerr

Two Days in Terlingua


Terlingua, situated in south Texas, might only have a population of 58 but it has featured in movies (including Paris, Texas) and has acquired the title of being Texas’ ghost town. Its abandoned mine works are a tourist attraction for hardy tourists, willing to endure the desert heat and, amidst its parched buildings, there’s a one hundred year old church still standing. This church was the location selected by Bard Edrington V to record this album in as live a manner as he could. The songs were all recorded live in a matter of two days, the band in a circle, playing to each other, no overdubs, the real deal.

Edrington has, over the past couple of years, proved himself to be quite a superior songwriter, both on solo outings and as one half of the Hoth Brothers. Here he excels himself. Having gathered a tremendous set of players to accompany him (Karina Wilson on vocals and violins, brothers Bill  and Jim Palmer on bass and drums, Alex McMahon on pedal steel, banjo and guitar and Zoe Wilcox on backing vocals) he digs deep into traditional American folk themes and comes up with a startling selection of songs. The band meanwhile gel so well it’s difficult to believe that this is a “fly on the wall” recording and, while there are moments which recall the likes of Townes Van Zandt, there are others where the band delve into electric folk blues as practised by The Cowboy Junkies on their acclaimed Trinity Sessions album.

Opening with Ramblin’ Kind, a title which surely nods towards to Hank Williams, Edrington leads the band on a jaunty folk number with twirling fiddle to the fore which introduces a character who seems to haunt much of the album. A drifter – jobs here and there, sleeping rough and prone to wallowing in booze. He’s an American Everyman, down on his luck, and much of the album is about his compatriots and their share of bad luck and struggle. The mood darkens on the grungy Dylan like Property Lineswhich has Wilson sawing away like Scarlett Rivera as the band plunge into muddy waters, guitars wailing and flailing away to keep from drowning. It’s an epic song and is given an epic treatment.

Similar tales of bad luck and trouble fall into place throughout the album such as on the bittersweet country styling of Shut The Screen Door, the loping country blues of A New Day On The Farm and the stark death rattle of Black Coal Lung. All of these are quite excellent but Edrington tops them with a couple of songs which just about defy description. Nevertheless, here we go. Bard And The Bears is an ancient sounding song of the type we are used to from Michael Hurley. The song scrapes along as Edrington inhabits the flora and fauna of his youth while the band slowly pile in with jagged guitar and an insistent fiddle motif gradually taking over. Strange Balloon meanwhile finds Edrington musing on the night sky and the possibility of life out there, over a quite intoxicating rumble of guitars, fiddle and percussion.

Coming back to earth, Masterpiece Of St. Mark’s Square seems to be an impressionistic painting of some happy times in Venice while Athena’s Gaze is a full blown flowing folk rock number which alludes to the power of ancient Greek myths. A more recent past is visited on Dog Tags 1942, a song written by Edrington’s grandmother about her son going off to war. It’s a fine front porch slice of Appalachian music and it’s followed by the album closer, No Reason, which meanders through its seven minute duration quite wonderfully as Edrington burrows into his very own happy place while the band expertly nudge him along. Their telepathic playing is a Texas equivalent of the groundbreaking sounds conjured by Fairport Convention when they unleashed A Sailor’s Life. It’s a perfect way to close a brilliant album.

Review by Alan Harrison at Rocking Magpie


Bard Edrington V 

Songs, Stories and Tunes That Capture The Spirit and Majesty of the New Mexico Borderlands.

I don’t know which excites me more; receiving albums from Big Labels and PR’s promoting Household Name acts, (which sort of makes what we do feel appreciated after all these years) or the handmade self-releases from acts looking for a break who have stumbled on the site via a review of a friend or possibly an act that they are fond of. (It’s the latter, actually).
Bard Edrington V from Santa Fe, New Mexico falls into the latter camp and even before I tell you about his music; my world is a better place for discovering his music!
Without ever being an overtly ‘political album’ Edrington sings about his homeland of New Mexico and evokes all kinds of imagery that will stimulate your imagination like a Steinbeck novel; starting with the passionate Maidenhair, which will bring some amazing pictures to your head as you live the song alongside Bard’s gently expressive voice.
As a touring musician, Edrington taps into many different aspects of Rootsy Americana to tell his strident stories; using a raw Mariachi sound on the haunting Take Three Breaths and later the deep Gold and Black Mare. 
I guess the subject matter and the way he builds his stories makes me think of Tom Russell, Dave Alvin and Ray Wylie Hubbard; but there’s something about his songs Southern Belle and Painted Pony which takes those three as a starting point and leaps forward into a whole new contemporary arena.
As is the way in the Borderlands, musicians can flit from one genre to another in the blink of an eye; and here Bard utilises some kind of ‘Southern Gothic Blues’ on Mango Tree to tell to capture the senses and smells of this magical area.
I’ve talked a few times about the ‘romance’ that Americana Music can induce in City Slickers and foreigners (like me) alike; and Edrington does that with ease and grace with the Appalachian toe-tapper Rendezvous Duel which sparkles and shines like Townes at his hoariest best; and it’s probably true of most other songs here too.
Sitting here in the Spring sunshine it’s proving incredibly difficult to find a single track that I like better than the rest. Spread My Wings is a wonderful Country Love Song, with a fabulous harmonica solo and Riverside Blues shows what a magnificent guitar-picker Edrington is, and the song itself is more than a bit good too; but I’m going for the title track Espadín, as it really is the cornerstone that everything else is built around and as an individual unit has the ability to capture the essence of what Bard Erdington has tried to recreate like no other; and the guitar, mandolin and violin interplay is quite majestic too. 
As I said earlier, this certainly isn’t a ‘protest album’ in any shape or form; and nor is it a ‘Rock Opera’ , it’s just a guy and some friends celebrating the various cultures that collide and co-exist across the Borders of America and Mexico in the 21st Century and he’s done it in a way that is well worthy of the attention of fans of Townes, Guy, Tom, Dave and Ray or the countless others who inhabit this glorious area.
While he has recorded three previous albums with his bands; this is Bard Edrington’s debut as a solo performer and really feels like a coming of age for a singer-songwriter who knows and feels what he wants to write and sing about regardless of commercial success ……. but which will surely come, as he has talent in every pore of his body.

Released USA May 3rd 2019 
Released UK & Europe June 3rd 2019 

Americana UK- By Diccon Johnston May 14, 2019

This is the first solo album by Bard Edrington V and it has the inescapable air of creative freedom. The written style encapsulates a strong sense of time and place and his storytelling approach is acutely observational, which when coupled with the range of musical styles he has mastered, intermingle to capture the listener and carry them with him on his journey.

His vocal style is undoubtedly closest to Townes in both the combination of lyrics and tone. At key times his voice breaks slightly, incorporating additional emotional content and expression. Coupling his self-evident musicianship with the ability to attract talented guest musicians, that combine throughout to compliment his own strengths, the high points of this album leave the audience in no doubt there would be no better place to be than watching Bard create something special in an intimate, possibly somewhat dingy local bar down in New Mexico on a hot summer evening.

The diverse range of songs capture a number of musical styles in varied combinations. Bard was raised in Tennessee and brings strong Appalachian elements to many of the songs. This is arguably most evident in ‘Rendezvous Duel’ and ‘Southern Belle’ but remains clear throughout. His previous work is mostly combined from Appalachian folk and Delta Blues. This release has expanded to capture a new southern desert sound with a touch of Mexican Mariachi. The overall result is most fresh and inventive when he combines guitar picking elements with traditional fiddle and more derivative when it relies on the electric blues guitar feel.

It is difficult to pick a single favourite from this fine selection. ‘Take Three Breaths’ builds implacably throughout as he heads south across the border suffering sideswipes and paying bribes to get to his destination. The title track ‘Espadin’ is most surely the main contender, as it sits comfortably in the centre of this world he has spun. ‘Two Ways to Die’ is equally close to the sweet spot and completely encapsulates the feeling of being lost in the desert in New Mexico. ‘Southern Belle’ operates from a background of intrinsic sparsity which allows the female supporting vocals and relentless rhythm to be expressed to maximum effectiveness.

The net effect of this combination of songs allows you to undertake the same journeys as Bard. It has the freedom of a musical Steinbeck drifting where it will, simply but beautifully capturing the emotional experience along on the way.

If there is any criticism of this album it is that sometimes the step change between musical styles feels too broad when he moves from Appalachian folk to Delta Blues. Where it is strongest is where the styles comfortably intermingle to create a tangible space that is at once new and fresh. Nonetheless it would not be possible to have found the exhilarating combinations he has discovered without exploring the space between. Who could know that an Appalachian Mariachi combination was what they were looking for until it arrived fully packaged and wrapped for your undoubted delight?

Bard has found a home in a new place on the southern border along with some great neighbours. The exploration of this country is exciting. He has undoubted talents and given the time and space to explore, he is going to continue to produce more fantastic music.

Compelling Appalachian folk tales with Delta Blues and Mariachi overtones


RnR review.jpg


Bard Edrington V 
Album: Espadin
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 13

Blessed with a sweet voice that double tracked sounds like a Country JJ Cale, Bard Edrington V is an interesting listen from the start. Drawing on his childhood home of Tennessee, taking in musically the Appalachian Mountains, the culture of Mexico, rural California and the historic frontiers Bard tells big stories through rich captivating music. Carried by that characterful voice and a infectious fiddle ‘Maidenhair’ is a beguiling opener. ‘Eyes On The Road’ is a valve amp rocker, with a nod to the verses of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock N Roll’, but shot through with dusty roadhouse integrity not UK imported blues bombast. ‘Riverside Blues’ is perfect folk blues, a beautiful picked guitar and that melancholic fiddle are two reasons why this track is a album highlight. At least one of many. The other is the way that Bard’s weary troubadour vocal sits with Sarah Ferrell and Zoe Wilcox’s voices. This is one of those tracks where you reach for repeat as it fades away. What is amazing about Bard Edington is the way when you think you have it all figured out, he shows another side. So it is with the stunning ‘Take Three Breaths’, Eric Ortiz’s soaring mariachi trumpet evokes the borderlands as does Freddy Lopez’s harmonica, edge of your hearing like a distant accordian. Bard delivers another fine vocal performance, edgy and knowing as Tom Russell. ‘Espadin’ is an evocative song, a mysterious song whose rich lyrics are packed with imagery, a wonderful close miked guitar and splashes of mandolin and strings. Again simply beautiful. ‘Mississippi Flows’ is a county dance of a song. Packed with pictures Bard draws a vivid view of riverside life with the bubbling fiddle, accordian and mandolin capturing the energy of the water and the weather. ‘Two Ways To Die has Bards electric guitar conjuring the desert blues of both Mali and New Mexico. Again the band crackles with heat and energy, everything from Arne Beys insistant drums to Lopez’s harmonica burns. ‘Painted Pony’ by comparison is perfect restraint, from the limpid piano notes like a music box or distant barrellhouse entertainment to David Mohr Nelson’s accordian behind Bard’s love song. Like ‘Two Ways To Die’ Bard’s electric guitar on ‘Mango Tree’ sears like midday sun. Add the huge drums n bass and the harmonica that manages to out Mussellwhite or Little Walter the moaning harp on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’ or ‘When The Levee Breaks. Against the slamming expansive drum beaks that last comparison seems particularly apt. ‘Gold And Black’ and ‘Spread My Wings’ feature superb vocals with Bard, knowing and gravelly like that missed California raised but Mojave Desert in spirit musician Robert Fisher. The tracks are musically rich cautionary tales, folk blues shot with mariachi and plaintive harmonica. The fiddle opening on ‘Rendezvous Duel’ has a definite Irish feel and the track builds into a wonderful Bluegrass piece. ‘Southern Belle’ a hallucinogenic swirling Civil War tale. Bard is right on the money with his story telling, Sarah Ferrell’s vocal conjours the Belle and the song snaps and pops with dreamy accordian and hand clap percussion.

Sometimes you hear an over indulgent double album, stretched out with filler, when what it needed to be was a leaner peppy single album. ESPADÍN is a rare thing, the exact opposite of that, a single album so packed with interest, ingredients and ideas, that you can’t help but wonder if it could have been a glorious technicolour double album, as expansive as the American continental landscape. This is one you will play again and again, a contender for album of the year. Check out too Edrington’s two fine bands, The Hoth Brothers and The Palm In The Cypress for three more class albums.

Marc Higgins

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