The voice of Americana folk singer-songwriter Alun Parry bursts from the speakers in a bouncy, upbeat fashion. He loves to delve into themes rich in social injustice. Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie and Roy Bailey among others of the ilk have no doubt been a huge influence on his music and helped him find a voice in the world. He sings and writes about real people, real situations and of what to some might be small issues but shape lives, shape the world even, as in the case of the mid-paced title-track Freedom Rider where he speaks of the 1960s struggle for equality in the American South, and though a little lightweight Parry delivers the message. Give it a little Billy Bragg-esque fire to his vocals and lyrics and he would have a winner!
He believes there’s always hope despite the severity of the struggle. Liverpool-born Parry understands hard knocks and is for one indebted to those who worked in our coal mines. Too Scared brings a different spin to hard knocks as he speaks, in entertaining fashion, lively and superbly performed showing how an artist can open up to fears of the heart without the story becoming too heavy.
Acoustic guitar, Dobro, harmonica and vocals, Parry brings joy to the saddest of hearts as he weaves his well-honed lyrics. I simply love the sound of the Dobro on Climb; it resonates beautifully, as does the warm, deft fiddle and acoustic guitar. It is arguably the finest recording on the record, one that was made in his hometown (his seventh album in all).
After the sad tale of Song For John Hartwell Parry adds some bluegrass flavour to the harmonica and banjo propelled The Odd Couple, likewise with the easy flowing Take Your Children To The Hill, and on him visiting Liverpool’s docks in Jack Jones he speaks of not giving up till your fight is through. Parry closes with the excellent rallying song We Are Not Afraid as he speaks of resisting pressure from outside, and remaining true to our selves. His songs are excellent, diction superb and playing too but I feel a little more edge to his work would be beneficial.