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Dodds, Davey: Kernowcopia

It's interesting to contrast the more recent albums from progressive rock outfit Red Jasper against Kernowcopia, the solo album of their ex-frontman Davey Dodds. While the singer and song writer was leading the band they were known for their individual, politically minded progressive folk rock. However, since Dodds departure in the 90s, Red Jasper have slowly evolved into a more straight ahead, 80s influenced prog act, while still keeping their socially aware outlook. Dodds on the other hand has headed completely in the other direction, this solo venture out and out Cornish folk music without a hint of rock, never mind prog. Clearly it was this push and pull that created the band's early, signature sound.

Often likened to Fish vocally, Dodds' strong storytelling style comes through in this thoroughly stripped back setting where bodhran, mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle and even 'bones' are the backing for the vocalist to tell his tales two of the musicians involved being Red Jasper men, Robin Harrison and David Clifford. The protagonist certainly hasn't lost any of his acerbic edge, Dodds still turning a spotlight on what he views as social imbalances. The result is an album steeped in traditions, not just musically but also lyrically. The question however may be whether Dodds' followers from his Jasper days will see this approach as a jumping on point for this less 'modern' style. In truth, it may be quite a leap for most, the undoubted links between what Dodds has turned his hand to here and the much more rock fixated approach from his past only obvious if that connection is already known.

That doesn't stop Kernowcopia from being an honest album that thrives on a clear love for the music and approach it employs. However, as someone who held a strong affinity for Red Jasper and especially their output with Dodds at the helm, I have to admit that this traditional approach is a step too far outside of my usual listening habits.

Track Listing
1. Storm Cat Song
2. Kernowcopia
3. Contented Man
4. Jean's Tune
5. Ship On The Sea
6. The Magpie
7. Merlin's Isle Of Gramarye
8. Titchmarsh Trauma
9. The Shaman's Song
10. Shoot The Gruffalo
11. Kick Off Your Shoes

Added: September 13th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Davey Dodds at Angel Air
Hits: 832
Language: english

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Dodds, Davey: Kernowcopia
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-09-13 12:14:29
My Score:

You may have heard the name Davey Dodds as he was the front man of the progressive rock group Red Jasper until he left the band in the '90s. Well he is back with a new solo album titled Kernowcopia. Although he has been involved with other projects and his songs have been recorded by other bands over the years this is his first solo album.

The title is reference to Cornwall, a county located at the south western tip of England. Lyrically speaking, the songs cover aspects of maritime life as the ocean is of such vital importance to all who live there.

As far as the music is concerned this is a traditional folk album through and through, very Celtic influenced with traditional instrument's used like mandolin and fiddle. Dodds' has an ideal voice for this type of music, his accented vocals really quite endearing. Songs like "Storm Cat Song" and the title track are prime examples of the excellent mandolin and fiddle work found throughout the album. There is often an undercurrent of sadness here and the lyrics are suitably hard hitting. On the title track Dodds' sings,

"And there's no more hacking for the copper and tin
There are no more fish in the sea
There are no more jobs on the farm or the field
No jobs in the factory"

Dodds' paints pictures with words shedding light on maritime life. The lyrics are certainly a high point here.

Other highlights include the pretty instrumental "Jean's Tune" and the sometimes haunting sometimes heavy "Merlin's Isle Of Gramarye".

While this album will likely not have a huge audience, for those into Celtic folk music Kernowcopia should be a mandatory purchase.

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