One of the aspects that makes the vibrant acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the surrounding area so exciting is the variety. Folk, singer-songwriter, pop, Irish, jazz, blues, and rock – there’s something for everyone. Americana also plays a significant role with events such as The Company Store, the Family Folk-up, and the Loose Moose String Band sessions. The Southbound Attic Band fit nicely into the Americana mould, and add a bit of an English twist to the genre.
The Southbound Attic Band are Barry Jones on vocals and guitar, and Ronnie Clark on bass and slide guitar, and they’re joined on their debut Southbound Train EP by piano player Geoff Hall. The SAB guys describe their music as ‘Americana-tinged folk rock’ and the American influences are there for all to hear.
The EP kicks off with the title track, Southbound Train, a song which typifies Barry’s ability to write songs in an Americana style which sound traditional and authentic. On first listen (without the aid of the publicity bumph, I might add) I assumed this song, and others such as Last Man Standing, were originally from the American folk tradition. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the former was written by Mr Jones, while the latter has lyrics by poet and lyricist Geoff Parry. Southbound Train contains some typical American folk elements, such as a jilted lover, a train journey to Memphis (Tennessee, of course), and a happy reunion.
Howling At The Moon starts with great blues harp just to add to the feel of the Deep South. It’s another relationship song, this time the man would prefer to wander round in the vein hope of selling his songs rather than settle down and get a job like his true love wants.
To Be A Father (track 3) and Valparaiso Bound (track 5) were written soley by Barry Jones, and are influenced by the English folk tradition, the latter reminding me of my time singing sea shanties in The Shellback Chorus. Both of these songs are part of The Willow Suite, which was written by Barry and recently recorded by the band (advance copies available now!), and is based on the Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Last Man Standing (track 4) is my favourite song. It tells the tale of the last living survivor from the epic Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the conflict with the highest casualty count, and the battle considered by many to be the turning point in the American Civil War.
The Southbound Attic Band can often be seen playing at Cafe D’Art in Formby. Why not go along and listen for yourself? You can bother them for a copy of the EP at the same time!
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.