I have a tendency to disagree with promo lit comparatives, as they're rarely penned by critics or writers per se, but lately there's been a spate of astute observations, and the uncredited scribe for Trevor Alguire's Miles Away got it right off the bat when ascribing the guitarist/singer/composer's overall feel to that of Tom Petty, Blue Rodeo, and Steve Earle. I'd add in a bit of Rank and File and a gritty Gordon Lightfoot, but the takeaway is a ground floor blend of roots, folk, and country that balances the triad without even vaguely disparaging any of it. In fact, the folk strain is so overwhelming that it also invites comparisons to Dylan (Cold Words) before jumping into Tom Cochrane rock territory (Long Gone Away).
Alguire's been working through the airwaves territories, and his last release, Now Before Us, landed him a #40 position in Americana Charts and an even more impressive Top 10 slot in Euro-Americana polls. This CD, however, has a more solidly crafted from-the-heart feel than his previous quartet because he made the decision to give click-tracking the boot and just document each cut, in his own words, "live off the floor". The band worked through the arrangements of the songs in several practice sessions and then ducked right into the studio to capture each track raw and alive. Rusty Old Strings in fact sounds just like the boys pulled the car to the side of the road in the middle of a midnight desert, slo-mo'ing the ballad through worn hearts peering through wiser days. I half expected to hear mournful wolves howling in the distance as the song progressed.
In the Palm of my Hand is an Iain Matthews kinda cut in grittier terrain, melancholy but vibrant, rockin' with a rosy hue while reflecting on the travails of wading through the waters of this Earth in a cornucopia of complications. It also exposes Alquire's six-string lyricism in a carefully recorded mixture of driving chords and leashed lead lines coloring the environment like a rising moon. The overall tone of Miles Away, though, is of a highly reflective mind paying witness to the odd behaviors of the human animal and all its eccentric and often heartbreaking behaviors…but with the observer's quiet determination and hope behind it all, the knowledge that things can indeed go right, though, lord, that often ain't easy at all. This ain't the blues, but it is. All cultures have their lament musics, and the genius of the Black side of the house isn't the only form America possesses. Trevor Alguire is one of those guys who shows us just how well the rest of it still goes.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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