Let me start by saying that I have thought long and hard about posting Albums Of 2014 so early in the year - but I know what I like and I like what I know (that sounds vaguely familiar in a Prog sort of way) - so for Albums that I know are going to make the list, well why not get them in early to give everyone an opportunity to seek out and get a few months more enjoyment if they feel so inclined as to invest
It seems that Clubhouse Records is yet again the place to be if you want to release a great album in 2014. Only a couple of months after the release of the brilliant Paul McClure's Smiling From The Floor Up
Clubhouse Records have released the new album by The Redlands Palomino Company - Broken Carelessly - and let's just say that they have surpassed the promise set by their previous three albums.
Led by the husband and wife team of Alex & Hannah Elton-Wall, The Redlands play a gorgeous mix of Americana/Country rock.
It's been three years since the release of their last album, Don't Fade, and the time has been spent wisely bringing together a collection of classic songs to make Broken Carelessly one of my Albums Of 2014.
Here we hear from Alex & Hannah talking about the making of Broken Carelessly.
photo courtesy of beat-surrrender.com
The lead off single from the album is the opener In These Lines, which showcases the lead vocals of Hannah, which are just stunning throughout the whole album.
Guitar arpeggios and pedal steel guitar feature heavily throughout the whole album and lift the music above the standard Americana fare.
Lead vocals are shared by Hannah and Alex, who gives us the early Eagles sounding country rocking Solitary Strangers.
Throughout the album you can hear the quality of the influences such as the Byrds, especially in the lovingly jangle of Everything I'm Not. The Byrds have already set the standard in horse songs with Chestnut Mare but The Redlands contribute their own horse song with the uplifting title track Broken Carelessly.
Don't Ever is Country swing of the highest order and brings to mind Emmylou Harris with Hannah's sparkling double tracked vocals and harmonies. And pedal steel of course.
1985 with Alex on lead vocals again recalls the 60s sounds of the Byrds with some The Flying Burrito Brothers thrown in for good measure.
Scattered Earth brings to mind the Emmylou album Wrecking Ball with Hannah providing lead in a horse blanket of atmospheric beauty.
For me, the highlight of the album is the haunting Swim. It features Hannah on lead vocals and begins with just acoustic guitar and Hannah's lovely harmonies before a touch of organ warms the stark beauty. This track reminds me of the also excellent Maria McKee at her very best.
The album closes with Band Song where Hannah sings what could be an almost autobiographical hymn to being in a band. It's a moving song and a perfect way to close the album - 'If You Wanna Hear A Song, Long Live This Band'. With pedal steel, of course.
But there are so many highlights to enjoy on Broken Carelessly. It is the sound of a band who are confident in their own abilities as musicians and songwriters. And a special mention must go to Alex for his production which makes the album sound deep and varied with particular attention paid to the vocals. A good thing.
The album is so good, it had no space for the excellent track Sunday, which can be found on the single In These Lines and is worth downloading immediately.
So, take my advice and go and treat yourself to a copy of Broken Carelessly, it's going to be the best Americana/UK Country album you'll hear this year.
Twitter - @TheRedlands