John Graham Leslie,
The Land, the River, the Sea
(Javelin, 2008)

John Graham Leslie proves himself an accomplished artist on this collection of 11 tracks.

He defies categorization with his mixture of influences, from Celtic to Americana, on The Land, the River, the Sea, but I think rock could be an appellation to append with the driving beat that permeates the songs on offer from "Cool Rain" to "The Plough."

The Celtic influence is evident in the opening of "Sugarman," a song about what could be a politician, a soap star or just about anyone out to make an impression. "Petals of the Rose" is a beautifully constructed song that works extremely well on the album.

One of my personal favourites is "Small Town," a song that will evoke memories for anyone born into such an environment but that need not exclude you city dwellers or farmers from enjoying a nice gentle story song. "The River" is another evocative offering that will paint word pictures if you have half an imagination. "The Plough," the final track, offers us some clue to Leslie's imagination and inspiration as he notes it as inspired by Patrick Kavanagh's "The Ploughman." As the saying goes, "he didn't pick it up off the street." This is a thoughtful writer and performer who knows his stuff.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

28 August 2010

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