Last year, Ryan Spendlove issued the impressive Fable, showing himself to be the modern resurrection of the elder troubadour/minstrel tradition. He's also the most passionate of the CandyRat vocal line of CDs. Even when restrained, there's a very broad sense of intelligent urgency in the tales and morals he relates, which lands the guy somewhere between David Wilcox (who's waaaaay too chipper to ever be in Spendlove's emotional category) and Tim Buckley with heavy accents of Jansch and the old Brit folkrock crew coloring everything, especially his fingerpicking. More, though, Spendlove follows the real backbone of folk music: making sense of the duality of the world, as witness:
When oceans paint the world and when the sky is falling
There's a lot hidden away in that stanza, Ryan's no breath-and-a-sigh poet, he's the real thing. His words change shape and texture as you read them, bedded down in the deceptive beauty of richly picked rondo chords and chains of illustrative sonic progression. As I noted in the critique of Fable, the physical manifestation of his work doesn't at all reflect his origins in Rory Gallagher, The Doors, Blind Willie McTell, and a roster of well-chosen progenitors precisely because he's created himself to be his own original. That's where that 100% heartfelt passion finds its home. It's real, not a stage affectation.
The entire CD is just the singer and his guitar but those two are more than enchanting enough to catch you up in the re-evocation of changeling madrigal and other modes cemented in his literate approach. The feeling of autumn pervades everything, and we know what Blake said of that season: it symbolizes the fall of man, the time when honesty must win out if Winter is to be survived, and Spendlove wrestles with the eternal human problems without shortchanging the aspects we too often scamp in our mad rush for pleasures too quickly won.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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