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Heuchert, Cary: Blue Rain

Being described as a walking encyclopaedia of the psych folk and progressive folk scene due to his knowledgable and insightful contributions on facebook, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cary Heuchert has also turned his hand to recording. Back in 2015 his Blue Rain album was enthusiastically received by a handful of critics but went largely unnoticed in wider circles. Keen to give his baby a second chance to spread its wings, Heuchert has reissued said album, while including a new track, "Mirror Of Dreams/Nightbreak", which the musician described as his first single of 2017, with more new music to come.

With his deep knowledge of the folk side of psych and prog already established it's no surprise that this is exactly where this multi-talented chap sets his musical sights, a vintage attack authentically bringing to mind the likes of Syd Barrett, Nick Drake, early era The Moody Blues and even Ralph McTell. And if any of those artists are regulars on your playlist or turntable, then Blue Rain will slot beautifully in alongside. Heuchert handles all the instrumentation, everything from six and twelve string acoustic and mellotron to guitalele, multi-oud and drums brought into play as the vintage sounds are woven. Hence there's no doubt that this is not only a labour of love but a singular vision. And while that's to be hugely admired, as is so often the case, it is also possibly where things come a little undone. For while the stripped back and (intentionally?) ramshackle approach reeks of days gone by and lands Blue Rain exactly where I'd guess Heuchert intended, the naivety that seemed so appealing way back when, simply comes off as a little too loose in this current age. More than likely Heuchert would pooh-pooh this notion and say I'm missing the point, and doubtless he's correct but in 2018 I personally would like to hear a drummer that feels much more natural taking a dip round the toms than the stilted clatters that appear in the wistful "Winterlude". Unfortunately it's an affliction that runs through quite a lot of what's on offer here. The desire to not just be inspired by the sounds of old, but also its feel, mood and limitations, leading to moments that feel, from the outside looking in, just too rough and ready and, at risk of being unkind, a little shoddy. The drums at the start of "Not Just Another Day" are a prime example of this approach, which is a real shame, because once the guitar strum kicks into gear the mood created is uplifting, if plaintive, although it's maybe "Someday" that makes the clearest statement of the older material through a bravely stripped back guitar and vocal approach. New track "Mirror Of Dreams/Nightbreak" very much feels like it belongs with its older album mates but there's a depth and daring incorporated that's never quite attempted elsewhere and, while I can't say it knocked me sideways, it is by far my favourite moment on this album.

If this faithful, vintage recreating of the past appeals to you, then, as there has been elsewhere, you may feel a lot of love for Blue Rain. Personally I find it to be too weighed down by its own intentions and too wilfully naive to be anything more than a brief stopgap listen. If you've similar passions to the man who created this album, then you'll likely think otherwise.

Track Listing
1. Blue Rain
2. Every Morning Comes
3. The Girl Of Dreams
4. Rainfall
5. Winterlude
6. Not Just Another Day
7. Maoershan
8. Lost In Your Dream
9. Someday
10. Ode To The Sun
Bonus Track
11. Mirror Of Dreams - Nightbreak

Added: March 24th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Oddiyo Records
Hits: 218
Language: english

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