record reviews february 2018


SON OF THE CHIEF

Needless Road (Self-released)

son of

While still a part of power-pop trio Aerial, Scottish singer-songwriter Mackie Mackintosh has used some downtime to put together his own solo project. Working with musicians that include Henry Bainbridge on pedal steel and the twin fiddles of Chris Haigh and

Andrew Sims, the debut album was inspired by the people he’d met and places he’d been while travelling around North America in 2009, the songs based around two central protagonists. Musically, it leans towards the country shades of Americana, opening up with keening pedal steel on the midtempo balladry of A Month Of Saturdays before kicking up the trail dust with the twangily catchy, tumbling melody of City of Roses. Bringing in banjo, Me & You Make Blue has an upbeat bluegrass sensibility and definite nods to Byrds influences while Matters of the Heart is a slower, sadder, tender bruise, as is the wistful Now Who.

By contrast, ‘Stay Put' shuffles along on brushed drums, the breezy waterfall cascading Seasons Change breaks out the harmonica and pizzicato fiddle and Colfax Avenue is a lively alt-country bustle that’s as much The Monkees as it is The Jayhawks. Ending round the campfire with the slow waltz strum Forlorn, this is a fine addition to the impressive library of Scottish-spawned Americana such as Dean Owens, The Wynntown Marshals and Teenage Fan Club. Son of the Chief is a natural heir.

Mike Davies

roots-and-branches.com 2017