REVIEW: The Rails’ “Other People” is Blunt and Moving, Wide Perspective


The Rails’ new release Other People  (Thirty Tigers) — duo Kami Thompson (Richard Thompson’s daughter) and James Walbourne (Pretenders’ guitarist) — packs a wallop of musical precision and blunt lyrical honesty about the state of the world.  There’s more global concern and meaning in this album than your ordinary record of most any genre, even your average folk project.

The production quality on this one, a la Ray Kennedy, rings out in clear tones with clear definition and respectful spaces in between, and you can hear it from the opening notes of “The Cally,”  as the song sweetly tortures your heart with lyrical scenes like this one: “in the slaughter houses around the way you hear the cries of babies.”   If you only listen to this one song, you’re guaranteed to be moved by every layer.  The music is striking, set atop a wave of accordian, while the lyrics pull you into London’s early 20th century Caledonian market –the 75 acres that were used to trade livestock along with a wide variety of other things in the mix, which closed in 1939.

The rest of the album proceeds unabated trading off between dark musical entwinings against other upbeat layers. “Late Surrender,” features Thompson’s lower registry heavy folk vocals.   [There are] “Other People” [in this world, not just you], the title track, is a plea to the listener to remember there are other people in this world, set to traditional style Celtic cadence and arrangement, and again featuring accordian.  “Drowned in Blue” is a song of drowning your sorrows with vocals again pulling on low tones in your heart.  “Hanging On,” highlights complex acoustic guitar abilities amidst another tale of woe and depression.

The duo wrote all the songs, and the album is anchored down by rhythm section Jim Boquist and Cody Dickinson, with some pedal steel by Eric Heywood. Get your copy right here.

Leave a Reply!