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Review: 'BOOTH, BILL'
'Some Distant Shore'   

-  Label: 'Wheeling Records'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '31st July 2017'

Our Rating:
While Bill Booth's 2010 album 'New Land' effectively embraced Scandinavian culture, on 'Some Distant Shore' the expatriated new Englander draws upon his Celtic roots in Britain and North America with less success.

Living in Oslo probably makes these origins seem particularly important but, unfortunately, his manner of conjuring up the spirit and sound of his musical ancestors has all the subtlety of a flying bodran.

The opening song, Wild Geese, sets the tone. Booth provides the obligatory fiddle while Irishman Paul McKernan plays Uillean pipes and flute in stereotypical fashion.

Elsewhere, the use of the names Danny Boy and Molly McKeen ("Every step dancer's dream") show a further dearth of imagination.

On Down I Climb Booth tries to salvage some credibility by adopting the persona of a wise journeyman but the song is let down by jarring lyrics like "The air is sweet with summer like a dream a child once knew".

On top of this, the dry Mark Knopfler style vocals don't add much dynamism. On City Of Rubble the singer is rightly outraged by the horror and injustice of war but lines such as "Hypocrisy reigns while the freedom bells toll" sound too poetically detached when they should be expressing empathy for those trapped in zones of conflict.

There are a couple of instrumentals (Sherry Reel and Distant Shore Waltz), Cliffs Of Dover is about becoming a rover while the distant shore of the album title can be found in the lyrics to Home Is On The Road in which Booth admits he "Can't speak the language so we stick together".

Unwittingly, this album reveals the downside to being an ex-pat.

Bill Booth's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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BOOTH, BILL - Some Distant Shore