This album takes its title from the name of a fictional London shop in William Gibson’s 2004 Sci-Fi novel ‘The Peripheral’ which specializes in obscure cultural artifacts from the States.
Together with a press release that outlines Ross’ opposition to restrictions on free movement, the blurb suggests a futuristic concept album on the theme of migration. Unless I’m missing something, it’s nothing of the kind.
To be honest, I’d be hard-pressed to say what any of the songs is actually about. Nevertheless, there’s a nice sense of motion and momentum running through the ten songs.
I wasn’t greatly impressed with the bluesy direction of his last album (Jenny's Place) but The Clovis Limit is another kettle of fish.
Recorded in Nashville and backed by instruments such as pedal steel, dobro, fiddle, Hammond organ and Wurlitzer piano this is more like cosmic-country than homegrown blues.
Highlights include the lazy swing of Young Man, the rock-orientated Pick Up Our Anchor (featuring a duet with Elles Bailey) and the breezy closing number, Driftwood.
Although Ross comes from North-East England and has a keen interest in Celtic music, here for the most part he embraces the Americana tradition albeit with vocals that are often reminiscent of Elvis Costello.
The songs were apparently written in various locations around the world and while a consistent musical direction is often lacking, the spirit is positive enough to encourage the listener to go with the flow.
Mike Ross’ website