Anton O’Donnell – Tomber Sur PRW
Aside from the music itself, Anton sings with a distinctive tone which I appreciate almost immediately. He doesn’t sound like anyone currently on the market. Elvis, Dylan, Jagger, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen – all had those unmistakable signature vocal techniques. So, whether the material on Tomber Sur PRW – (Drops Oct 27– Need To Know Music) is any good or not — the singer’s vocal does dazzle.
The 9-track 45-minute set has engaging performances to make it all the more interesting. It’s not a cut-and-paste CD – it’s planned, it’s been perfected & executed with a diligent touch.
There are times when Anton (acoustic guitar/harmonica) sings with an R&R tinge of Garland Jeffries with a slight drawl to his projection that makes his singing style teeter between grace & power. The addition of a wall of guitars with a tailored harmonica adds the necessary folk flavor but never compromises the rock n’ roll influence.
Mr. O’Donnell possesses a fervent balladry voice as evidenced in “Roots,” — a warmer take than the introductory tunes. He has a somewhat Paul Hyde-Paul Brady shade that makes his performance plaintive & expressive. The CD title translates to “falling on PRW,” & the initials refer to Paisley Road West — in Glasgow.
Produced by Brian Brinkerhoff & Frank Swart (bass/electric guitar) the songs are wonderfully arranged with the addition of delicious backup singers. The showcase is made up of material far more serious than average country or Americana songs. The lyrics don’t dip into cliches or lame topicality. Everything is carefully sculptured. Singers in the past who dabbled in this arena were the late David McWilliams, the aforementioned Hyde & Brady, along with solo work by Paul Roberts, Australia’s late Gary Shearston, Al Stewart & Pierce Turner. These are masters of songwriting & I’m adding Anton to this list.
All of the original songs have a wealth of melodies & words that are poignant, memorable & expressive. They’re tiny paintings with landscape tales, embodying a poetic ideal, a rock n’ roll drive — just to show that it can be done (“It Never Lasts”). This CD has all the necessary exponents to delight. It may have a bakery scent but there are tunes that smoke like a factory. Great vocal technique with enthusiasm.
“Madman On the Loose,” has a cool Steve Earle vocal facility & Herb Alpert-type 60s trumpet that’s all done to perfection.
Highlights – “Kindness,” “Skulduggery,” “Roots,” “Dreams Fade Under the Weight,” “Shine a Light,” “It Never Lasts,” “Set It On Fire” & “Madman On the Loose.”
Musicians – John Deaderick (keys), Russ Pahl (pedal steel), Christian Pepin (congas/percussion), Derrek Phillips & Scott Amendola (drums), Roscoe Wilson (electric guitar/bgv), Rob Ickes (dobro), Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle/mandolin), Mai Bloomfield (cello), Dennis Crouch (upright bass), Doug Lancio (slide guitar/mandolin/electric guitar/high string guitar), Neil Rosengarden (trumpet), Kelley Mickwee, Alice Spencer, Noriana Kennedy & Shannon Hynes (background vocals).
Stitched lyric insert included. Recorded in Glasgow. Cover B&W image by Neil McKenzie. CD @ https://aodonnell.bandcamp.com/album/tomber-sur-prw