Listen to this the third album from Red Dirt Skinners with an open ear, they refuse to be pigeon-holed into the blues or country, having reaped nominations in both British Blues Awards & The British Country Music Awards during 2013. “The Sinking of the Mary Rose”; it has a distinctive shape and the self-penned numbers have a recognisable Red Dirt Skinners sound, they create a sound that has a complex weft and warp creating a moving tapestry of sound that is a careful blending of Country, Folk, Blues especially the tradition of the holler making the sound full of American influences but the style of lyrics and delivery is definitely British. Sarah’s emotive Saxophone playing makes many of the tracks take on an emotional heart searching that makes the sound stand out in the crowd, especially when blended with Robs melodic tenor and his percussive and guitar playing, seen to great effect on their self-penned number ‘Still Water‘. The two covers included in the mix the Delmore Brothers’ Browns Ferry Blues with some good banjo befitting of this bluegrass influenced song, and Clarke, Cooper, Peadon’s Idabel Blues are delivered with style. It is their own numbers that really let their collective talent shine through; ‘Just 18’ and ‘Last Card’ both have the bitter hurt timbre to their voices as they sing of hurt and loss pulling you into the lyrics. This is a quality album with great production that ensures every note is heard and the textures, contrasts and tempos are perfectly balanced; and ‘Mr Landlord‘ who is no jolly publican but a Landlord who cares nothing for his tenants misery and uncomfortable living conditions. Despite this the guitar has a jauntiness that is reflected back later on by a fine sax solo and some powerful vocal harmonies.
This is a carefully crafted album of songs that have something to say that uses the musical skills of Rob & Sarah who have followed the tradition of many songwriters using their own experiences to shape, colour and add true emotion and feeling to the tracks.