Bernie Tormé - ‘Dublin Cowboy’ (RetroWrek Records/PledgeMusic) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Martin Haslam   
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 04:30

Bernie Torme artworkHot on the heels of his previous PledgeMusic campaigns, and buoyed by their success, guitar hero and all round good guy Bernie Tormé shows there's plenty of life in the old dog yet with triple album ‘Dublin Cowboy’.


Don't panic; this is no concept album or prog wig out. We have three albums in one package; a new, electric studio album; a new acoustic album and, for good measure, a live album. The title track is classic Bernie, the inimitable swoops and dives against a chugging riff. ‘Hair Of The Dog’ continues in this vein, while ‘Power Of The Blues’ tips a nod to its dark black roots, with some playing that wouldn't shame B. B King and nice stabs of organ. ‘Time (Has Taken Its Toll)’ has some lovely Hendrix style touches and a melancholy feel. The album balances between these poles, ‘In The Groove’ reminiscent of ‘You Can't Beat Rock N Roll’ but with a Stonesey feel. However, it's the acoustic intro of ‘Janus (Pt 1+2)’ that seems like a natural lead into the second disc; ‘Acoustic’.


Bernie has been waiting a long time to release an acoustic album, and of the three discs, for me, as a long time fan, this is the eye opener. A few years ago, when I interviewed Bernie, he said that he listened to a lot of acoustic and Americana stuff at home, and it's great to finally hear his take on it. ‘Shine’, at over 11 minutes long, is epic in sound and tone. There's a great use of space, which is quite brave and pays off. ‘Morning Raga’ is slide-fuelled, with an Eastern flavour, and ‘Wolfgirl’ follows on with tablas to compliment it.


Personally, I’d like to see Bernie play this as an acoustic support set prior to his electric work out. It's surprising to hear that he was nervous about releasing this particular album, because it contains some of his strongest ideas of recent years. Moving away from his perceived ‘style’ has developed his creativity. ‘Lethe’, with violin accompaniment, has more of a Celtic feel. ‘All My Demons’ could almost be taken from ‘Beggar’s Banquet’, while ‘Death Of Dreams’ ends the album in a reflective, resigned mood. Quite beautiful. And, certainly, not what a lot of people would expect from Bernie Torme.


‘Live’ is a solid set from last year, starting, as ever, with ‘Wild West’, and it’s good to hear newer stuff like ‘Pain Song’ standing up to old classics ‘Star’ and ‘Turn Out The Lights’. Certainly good value here, but ‘Acoustic’ is the gem this time around. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


‘Dublin Cowboy’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.


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