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Sloman, John: Two Rivers

It’s no surprise that singer and musician John Sloman’s solo career can feel a little overshadowed - stints with Uriah Heep, Lone Star and Gary Moore will do that. However, I think you’ll be far pushed to find a more personal and revealing album anywhere in the veteran performer’s body of work than his latest solo album (of nine), Two Rivers. Not only does Sloman write, sing and perform each and every song here, he also lets us into his journey through life. The two rivers referred to in the album’s title are the Taff and the Thames, Sloman’s time having revolved around Cardiff and London. There’s no doubt that the move from Wales to The Big Smoke saw the singer attain a high level of musical success and yet, as we walk through this remarkably low-key but high-intensity album we discover tinges of regret at people lost and situations not cherished as they maybe could have been. Even as someone who often says he’s ‘not a lyrics’ guy (as I do), it’s nigh on impossible not to be impressed and affected by the emotions and ideas expertly and candidly explored on Two Rivers.

Of course, this album is no book recital, hence Sloman hasn’t just poured his soul into the words, he’s also given his heart to the music. At no points can anything here be described as ‘hard rock’, yet this album undoubtedly has spirit, energy and an understated raucousness, but then it’s also tender, wistful, focused and incredibly involving. Everything presented sounds fresh and vital, with stripped back, but still cleverly busy arrangements allowing not just the vocals to shine, but also for the music to perfectly match the mood and tone of the words, with one often closely following the other as a clever line is walked between rock-swagger and folk fable-teller.

I’ve seldom come across an album where you feel you’ve been allowed into not just the musical world of the artist who has created it, but also what makes them tick on a personal and emotional level. Two Rivers does exactly that, with really quite astonishing results.

Track Listing
1. Two Rivers
2. This River Is A Time Machine
3. Caerdydd (City On The River)
4. Scenes From An Old Biscuit Tin
5. From The Taff To The Thames
6. Londinium
7. Blackweir
8. When I Go Home
9. Rest In Peace (For Sylvy)
10. Charring Cross Moon
11. 70’s Sunday
12. Walking Along The Taff
13. The Last Coalminer
14. Farewell To London Town

Added: October 25th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: John Sloman @ facebook
Hits: 659
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sloman, John: Two Rivers
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-10-25 15:59:06
My Score:

Sloman’s solo work is new to me, and I feel compelled to echo the praise of my SoT colleague, Steven Reid. This candid album is conceptually buoyed by the Rivers Taff and Thames, which Sloman uses as metaphors for two significant phases of his life. The result is a powerful and melodic reflection on growing older gracefully. While I could do without the spoken word passages that open nearly every one of these 14 tracks, there is no denying the emotional pull of each song. The album plays like a celebration of life, as well as a reckoning that we all will go to (as Sloman calls it) “that great river in the sky.” Listening to Two Rivers could be one of the best gifts you give yourself this week.

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