This is not a Blues album in the traditional sense. This is a songwriter working in various blues styles with songs that range from the kind you might hear in a bar in New Orleans or a piano bar in Manhattan, to sparse Dobro based acoustic tracks that would not be out of place someplace in the southern states of the USA.

 

As always Hanlon manages to combine accessible tunes with words that touch a chord in us all. And the ‘honey over gravel’ voice he adopts to deliver these songs seems made for the blues.

Upon listening you can’t help feeling there is an element of truth in the lyrics. If not for Hanlon himself then perhaps for all of us.

JUST QUIETLY

As the title suggests the songs are quiet and reflective and generally sparse in arrangement and relaxed in delivery.

The songs do not shout and stomp and demand attention. Instead they creep up on you, seduce you and lodge in your brain with lyrics and musical phrases that are clearly the product of a songwriter at work.

And in the same way in great chef will use good ingredients and keep the recipe fresh and simple the musicians and arrangements on this collection are tasteful and definitely not over cooked. They provide musical support for Hanlon’s voice, which is variously gravely or lighter depending upon what the song requires.

His voice conveys the emotions of the words rather than seeking to put on a display of vocal acrobatics.

And the words convey a contemplative soul and mature point of view with the odd quirky twist. Some songs are clearly personal — perhaps ‘based on a true story’ as they say in the movies — while others are general observations about things all of us share.