|12.5 × .10 × 12.5 cm
CD Review by John Broomhall
I took this new album, (the 100th in the Restless catalogue and the 16th by Davies and Ilott) on a recent trip I made to the outback.
Listening to these beautiful songs on the dirt road which follows the Darling River between Pooncarie and Menindee gave me an added sense of connection: words, music and landscape, weaving their way through me like bright threads of meaning spun from the heart itself.
Penny Davies and Roger Ilott occupy a unique place in Australian music spanning the great divide between Folk and Country.
They have reinvigorated the bush ballad, kept alive the protest song, and have celebrated all that it means to be Australian and citizens of the world, as the new millennia continues its dark unfolding, without a cork hat, lagerphone or phoney accent on the horizon.
Big Water is an important album.
It breaks new ground just as their first album Restless did some twenty three years ago.
Here are songs of place and identity and of heartfelt humanity.
Songs of hills and railway lines, rivers and oceans.
Songs that you feel could just make a difference as we all keep on trying to “turn the world around”.
Musically, you won’t hear better on an Australian album.
You discover more with each listening.
Roger Ilott has wound his guitars up full throttle and the Rickenbacker 12 string has a stridency which is compelling.
Many of his arrangements reference the Byrds, but the sound he achieves goes much further than the tribute.
It is a sound he and Penny Davies have made their own.
It’s one of the things about Big Water which make you want to listen to it again, and again.
That and the sweetness and strength of both vocals.
Roger Ilott takes more lead vocals nowadays and there is an integrity in his gentle delivery, a sureness which only comes from decades of performance.
Penny Davies simply has one of the richest voices in Australian folk and country music.
Put the two together and you have the best harmonies you’re likely to hear.
This is an album of standout songs.
From Bill Scott’s wonderful sea shanty “Back to the Sea Again, Johnny” to the evocative “The Hills and Rocks of Home”; the powerful message of “Turn the World Around”; the poignancy of “Rusty Dusty Days”.
Every song a poetic gem in itself.
It’s little wonder Penny Davies and Roger Ilott who already have an Australia wide following for their music, are now finding an audience for their songs around the world.
7 in stock (can be backordered)