The Magpie Salute High Water II

Opening with Sooner or Later, The Magpie Salute picks up and continues the journey begun on High Water I. With much of the album written at the same time at Dark Horse Studios Nashville there is the perfect continuity as we are taken a little deeper and the sound builds on the introduction on the debut album with High Water II.

With three new songs written during 2018 European Tour and the band took the opportunity to record the new songs, Gimme Something, Leave It All Behind and Life Is A Landslide to head to Rockfield Studio, near Monmouth, Wales to work on the album. The theme of human experiences run through the follow-up album.  “We as Humans, will always wrestle with universal themes.” Robinson says. “ I think there’s light and dark around us at all time. I think they’re both necessary to see the contrast that helps us see the peaks and valleys of life”

Opening the second opus of High Water with Sooner or Later we are instantly immersed into a number with power and energy capturing the live sound in the studio.  This number catapults the listener into High Water and once again the writing combo of Robinson/Hogg sends us at full speed in a rush of hypnotic rock in full flood.  The writing duo continues with Gimme Something in which the intensity is driven by Joe Magistro on drums and the keys of Matt Slocum underpinning the melodic flow. We are taken deep into a groove that echoes the Stones but is more we all relate to the cry of the title we all cry out Gimme Something in our darkest hours. It could be hope, something to numb the pain or recognition or play this loud the layers and textures will reward you every time. Three tracks in and we are saluting the magpie once again with Leave It All Behind. So often we just want to leave it all behind free ourselves of toxicity. Sometimes it isn’t possible the yearning of the lead break lets you visit the conundrum and the vocals pick up the refrain with a passion and strength of lyrics written from bitter experience.

With roots rocking In Here written by Robinson on his own. Personal and universal in these difficult, complex and challenging times we are told in the song that it is fine to feel afraid, safe and happy.  Feel these emotions that do not shut-down it is human to experience a myriad of emotions. The tone twist as we are treated to a melodic yet melancholy You and I; the song is and yet the tonal beat and delivery is upbeat leaving you stepping out with hope! Life brings turbulence and the Americana fuelled Mother Storm. The pace slows and the guitar and keys are full of delicious intent reflected in the vocal harmonies.  On an LP it is the perfect number for the final track of Side One.

The country/American feel is continued with A Mirror, John sings with a deep earning and the keys reflect the emotive delivery as you see yourself in the reflection and dig deep into your soul. Self-realization is both painful and cathartic and this is captured in A Mirror personal and yet we can all relate to this moment of seeing our thoughts and hurts reflected back. We stay in the rootsy groove with the country feel of Lost Boy, the pace slows and Hogg growls the vocals as the tale is told with Alison Krauss adding vocals and fiddle on a number that shimmers with mixed feelings.  Now the beat picks up on a number that is inspired by a mix of Bowie and Dylan. Their voices can be heard on this number that grinds out the lyrics in a flow of energy as Magpie Salute Turn It Around making the track distinctive and their own.

Written by Robinson Life Is A Landslide defines the album. It captures the complexity of life, that you have to keep going with life whatever it throws at you.  Then as a mystical feel the instrumentation weaves in the feel of psychedelia with a light touch. A number that deftly interlaces the lyrics and melody to reflect a river in full flow with the band having total control of the torrent of sounds that catches the inner sound of the Beatles.  The mood lightens with a Doesn’t Really Matter coloured with funky bluesy tones and beats that swirl around. Lifting up the spirit as the penultimate number fades into the final track, Where Is The Place. This is The Magpie Salute shimmering with music that is being shaped in the moment as the keys tinkle and vocals growl in perfect harmony. We are in the moment and the answer to the song’s questions is the place is where you are at in the here and now. This is a song that ideally should be heard loud in a darken club as the night fades into another day. A life will bring its new challenges to add to yours as we live our own unique human experience

High Water II is an album that no reviewer can do justice. Why? Because the lyrics will mean something different to every listener depending on what is happening in their lives. The lyrics explore deep emotions and our reactions to situations we find ourselves in. I know that when I listen on a different day tracks will be more pertinent as they will connect with my human experience of the here and now.  Every track is full of truths that are redolent with our experiences reflecting that we have more in common with each other that our differences. Listen once, twice and again and when you are unsure you will find a track that lifts your soul through the lyrics and melodic tone, whether bluesy, rocky or Americana. High Water II will speak to you through the power of music.

The Magpie Salute – Highwater II – Provogue / Eagle Rock

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


  1. Sooner or Later
  2. Gimme Something
  3. Leave It All Behind
  4. In Here
  5. You and I
  6. Mother Storm
  7. A Mirror
  8. Lost Boy
  9. Turn It Around
  10. Life Is A Landslide
  11. Doesn’t Really Matter
  12. Where Is This Place
  13. Musicians

    Rich Robinson – Guitar

    Marc Ford – Guitar

    John Hogg – Vocals

    Matt Slocum – Keys

    Sven Pipien – Bass

    Joe Magistro – Drums

    Special Guest: Alison Krauss – Vocals & Fiddle (Track 8)

    The Magpie Salute returns with High Water Part II

One thought on “The Magpie Salute High Water II

  • 23rd October 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Finally a review that does justice to the art of the music! Beautiful job


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