Best known as the front man of Blam Blam Blam (who I checked out earlier this year) and Mutton Birds (I listened to their brilliant album Salty last year), Don McGlashan, looking decades younger than he is (he is in his sixties now), is one of the finest songwriters this country has ever produced. I always think of the term “raconteur” with him, as every song is a story and takes you on a journey. It’s a rare skill.
Bright November Morning is his latest solo album, and it is – in a word – fantastic. The man just knows how to put a song together, and he refuses to be pigeon-holed into a particular style or genre.
Just check out the opening tracks. “Lights Come On” gets the album underway with piano chords and a simple drum beat, McGlashan’s vocal moving as the bassline joins the fray. Then second track “John Bryce” rocks out, complete with a choir of background singers adding sheer depth to the track. “Go Back In” brings Mutton Birds to mind, but its clear the effect of age has sharpened McGlashan as a songwriter.
But those are just the opening trio. The whole album is brilliant and beautiful – the acoustic picking on “Sunscreen” placing you in the middle of a summer beach; “Shackleton” using minor chords and sparse guitar/organ to tell the story of the great explorer; the upper register vocal on “Song For Sue” adding depth to the mournful beauty of the song.
This is one of my favourite albums of the year so far.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.
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