Rob Clarke has recently been busy recording with his new group The Wooltones and has just been featured on Folkscene for BBC Radio Merseyside. Recorded at Number 4 studios with Fran Ashcroft, ‘About A Time’ is the third album to emerge from the Woolton singer songwriter and is probably his best yet.
Opening with the title song, Clarke reflects about a time of having too much time. The track features pedal steel from Paul Hilton and is a strong start to the album. The country vibe is continued on the understated ‘Going To Garrucha’, which benefits from the addition of piano. Strong harmonies elevate ‘Aardvark Blues’ into a stand out track. It may not be a blues but it’s a fine song with a memorable chorus, which builds up effectively. The flute on the sublime ‘Millican’s Green’ is another highlight. After telling the listener that you can’t boil an egg in a Minute and 5, Clarke shifts gears on the bluesy ‘Shallow Hollow’, which maintains a solid groove. Another highlight of the set is ‘Sevens Sins’, which features guest vocals from Ragnhild Kambo Grov. The voices blend well on this country flavoured song, where Paul Hilton’s pedal steel really shines.
The general mood of the album is pastoral and may remind listeners of ‘Comes A Time’ by Neil Young. Elements of country and folk are prevalent on much of the material. The arrangements are understated but effective. Overall ‘About A Time’ is a strong set of the songs that strikes the right chord, with repeated listening revealing more of its charms.
Stuart Todd runs and hosts the award-winning Liverpool Acoustic Live music events with Graham Holland. Stuart was formally in the group Triad before leaving to do solo work. In recent years he has had a successful partnership with local classical guitarist and composer Neil Campbell with whom he formed the duo Campbell Todd. He has also been in the band The Freebies and involved with a number of creative writing projects. His current band is called Three Minute Hero.