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Tony Winn - Push And Pull (Free Fall Records)
Tony Winn is an earnest spirited performer and despite seven albums and a career stretching back thirty four years a new name to me. So no surprise then, given that pedigree, that the album crackles with experience and confidence, that tunes and lyrics feel familiar, like old friends or classics. Tracks like Push And Pull, What's The Moonlight For and Lover Is The Reason blend slippery free festival protest music with a punchy reggae beat and the smoother music of Show Of Hands. His passionate delivery and the sharp protest lyrics put me in mind of those excellent new wave Tom Robinson Band records. Or standing in front of an impromptu flat back lorry stage in a cornfield near Stonehenge surrounded by a buzzing festival crowd. Grock is beautiful acoustic singer songwriting at its best. Swirling finger picked guitar around a perfect vocal like the best of Chris Smither or Bruce Cockburn. The story of the melancholic inside of the revered clown is a classic and the delivery is spot on. You'll Be The Ruin Of Me is a perfect Country 'singing into your beer song', but Winn's delivery lifts it into a strident powerful song. Helen Mulley from Helen And The Neighbourhood Dogs delivers a smouldering duet vocal on this brooding album highlight. Andy Trill delivers a perfect guitar solo too.
PUSH AND PULL contains Occasional Affairs. I Stop To Wonder and Come And Go With Me a set of exquisite piano ballads. With just a little late period Dylan crackle Winn's voice and writing is heartfelt and emotional, while the playing around him is sympathetic and atmospheric. Little splashes of accompaniment like Jonathan Evans' crackle like jewels. Throughout the writing is spot on, words flow from Winn an intelligent pop writer. Songs like Mad Love marry some of the uplifting graceful feel good music of early 70s Van Morrison with a pop beat. A Quiet Night is a perfect lullaby streaked with the voice of weary experience. Perfect that is until the dark punchline, adding more than a touch of Edgar Allen Poe to this Goodnight album closer. Of course Tony Winn, seasoned performer and storyteller holds your attention to the end and this final surprise is the last stop through an interesting and enjoyable album that mixes energy and quiet introspection.