Chasing Tails

Jo Bywater
(SFD Records)

Music review by Richard Lewis 22/10/2013

Liverpool based singer-songwriter returns with four track EP

The follow-up to her December 2010 debut release, Cycle Grace Pulse Break, Jo Bywater returns to the fray with a four-track EP Chasing Tails. A mainstay of the city’s gig circuit, the Yorkshire-born, Liverpool based singer-songwriter, is a veteran of scores of gigs on the city’s acoustic/folk music scene.

Picking up where the album left off, the EP is a collection of close-miked vignettes that puts Jo’s voice and acoustic guitar front and centre.

Released through SFD (Searching For Dandelions) Records after the self-released DIY mini album, the EP is a more reflective affair than the Janis Joplin blues vocal howl heard on the first album.

Curtain raiser ‘Chopping Wood’ sets the tone for what follows, the unfussy, live sounding renditions making the most of the simple intimacy of voice and guitar.

Armed only with an acoustic guitar, along with guest appearances on percussion, flute and additional guitar, the only rhythm section present is the thump of African drum, the cajon, on ‘Sun Shines Under Water’ and ‘Woollen Hearts’.

‘This Garden’ third marks the highpoint of the set, a series of bright acoustic arpeggios overlaid with a high-circling flute accompaniment. Reviving memories of 1970s proggists Jethro Tull, currently undergoing a revival thanks to much heralded UK band Wolf People, the track exits at the interchange of folk, prog and blues rock that was hugely popular at the onset of the seventies.

The crepuscular ‘Woollen Hearts’ closes the collection, showcasing Jo’s dextrous guitar playing to full effect, a succession of gently plucked chords interspersed with Delta Blues slide mo eminently suited to the long-day’s close theme of the lyrics.

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