Low River, moniker of solo acoustic Englishman Paul Bardsley, drops “The Man That Death Forgot,” a badass death-country barnburner that will get your hands clapping and your boots stomping.
This catchy country track shows off its wild side with jangly dancehall riffs and Bardsley’s fantastically spirited and weathered-by-whiskey vocals. The song feels like a punk folk song, down home, raw, with a runaway beat.
Paul makes it clear that he’s here to drink in a crowded bar, but without the Spaghetti Western raw hide boots.
The song is a Boulder, on that slight hill that you don’t know if it will rock down, as you walk past it. It is that ‘slap on the face’ that you expect, closing your eyes, but the ‘slap’ never materialising – torturing you, even further.
‘Trouble’ is some soulful, punky folk music. “I’d say I take most of my influences from guys like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but really I’m more Johnny Rotten than Johnny Cash.”
This angry, underground attitude really comes through in the vocals and the truncated song structure.
Somehow, Low River has made acoustic music that can really hit at the pit of your eardrums.
The addition electric guitars and other traditional rock instrumentation is a nice touch. In a folk scene that’s focused on personally-oriented, quiet solo acts, this is truly a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Interestingly, Bardsley seems to focus on elements of punk not explored in similar projects like Andrew Jackson Jihad or Days and Daze. This project is going places.
Bardsley’s voice recalls a young Mike Ness while his heavy strum and strident lyrics evoke Frank Turner. But Bardsley throws in a pop twist that separates him from an otherwise crowded field. It gives the songs a levity that might otherwise be dragged down by the blues undertow.