Friday, 27 April 2018

Beki Hemingway - "Whins and Weather" Review

Not all of you may be familiar with Beki Hemingway or her husband and musical cohort Randy Kerkman, some of you may even be questioning why I'm reviewing their new album "Whins and Weather" on what is essentially an Alarm fan page but I assure you this definitely belongs here! Firstly lets get the Alarm connection dealt with and out of the way....Steve "Smiley" Barnard plays drums on half of the albums ten tracks.....secondly Beki & Randy are both big Alarm fans and supporters and are known to many fellow fans and Gathering attendees through performing at various taverns in Llandudno during the Gathering Weekend.  Thirdly, for those that need more convincing, Beki & Randy are lovely people and if this review can help introduce their music to new people then why the devil not!

 Album opener "Two More Hills" is a wonderful alt-Country number dripping with a lovely pedal steel guitar , in fact there are hints of country, folk , rock and even gospel on the album. Some tracks would fit very well on an Aimee Mann album especially the upbeat "Thank You For The Rain" while "Anyone But You" could easily work as a Sheryl Crow track but Beki has her own style and identity which she proves on the ballads. "Not Excused" is a simple arrangement of voice. piano and dobro which lets you focus on Beki's voice as does "Because" which just features an acoustic guitar accompaniment. One major coup is the inclusion of Duke Special as a special guest lending his easily identifiable harmonies to You Sing This Song" as well as piano and harmonies to the album closer.  

I'd like to take some time to single out that track for special praise. I must admit when scanning the cover I was surprised and honestly very wary about a track called "Tourist"as it had the legend Auschwitz/Birkenau 2016 below the title. I was slightly shocked that anyone could write a song about the location where the worst crimes against humanity in history happened but as the track started it's emotion and feelings made sure that my fears of any disrespect were quickly dispelled. The song is simply beautiful, heartfelt, moving and needs to be heard. It literally moved me to tears and is an amazing piece of songwriting, closing the album in a mournful and haunting way with a subtle violin line weaving amongst the harmonies of Beki & Duke.

"Whins and Weather" can be found on both Amazon & iTunes for ease but if you want to support new music you'd do well by buying from CDBaby by clicking HERE!

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