Bill Ryder-Jones - A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart

This loses none of the considered compositional qualities of his previous work, but adds to it a certain world-worn raggedness.

Life can be pretty tough for the guitarist in a successful indie band who decides one day to go it alone and forge his own path. Just ask John Squire. Every Stone Roses is a Seahorses waiting to happen. Former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones made that jump soon after 2007’s ‘Roots And Echoes’. His first album, ‘If’, was released in 2011 and was a conceptual soundtrack to the book ‘If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller’ by Italo Calvino. While he cast aside any doubts concerning his skills as a composer with that effort, the move to more conventional singer-songwriter territory brings with it fresh risks and uncertainties. He had been singled out for praise while still with The Coral, by artists such as Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon for his arrangements and technical prowess, but his ability to actually pen a tune wasn’t ever really put to the test with that band. Any doubts though have, with ‘A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart’, been well and truly dispelled. It loses none of the considered compositional qualities of his previous work (this is clearly a man who’s studied his theory) but adds to it a certain world-worn raggedness.

‘A Bad Wind…’ resides firmly in singer-songwriter territory, occupying a space somewhere between fellow Domino alumni Elliott Smith and Bill Callahan. While his vocal delivery sounds as though he’s having to force each word out through cracked lips at the end of a long night, the accompanying music fits perfectly, whether it’s building mournfully on album highlight ‘He Took You in His Arms’ or restricted to merely an accompanying acoustic guitar as on the Nick Drake-ish ‘By Morning I’. While it had to have taken some stones to leave his comfort zone and decide to go his own way with no safety net, it seems like it was a gamble that’ll pay off for both him and us.

Tags: Bill Ryder-Jones, Reviews, Album Reviews

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