Blair Dunlop “Out of the Rain”

Gilded Lily Records, 2024

A bright new slice of UK-born Americana.

Blair Dunlop 'Out of the Rain' Cover art‘Out of the Rain’ is Blair Dunlop’s fifth album, but the first since 2018’s poignant, somewhat downbeat ‘Notes From an Island’. As such, the new offering appears distinctly more upbeat, with a more obvious positivity. 

This is evident as much in the sound as the lyrics, with a move away from his earlier folkier sound, and towards a significantly more widescreen (dare we say Americana?!) feel to the music. He credits producer Jim Moray with helping the shift, though this is interesting, as Moray is also closely associated with the British folk scene, whether as a performer or producer. 

Whatever, it is a record that immediately sets its stall with the cool groove of ‘Ain’t No Harm’; a gentle opening verse with acoustic guitar, soft drum rhythms, and some nice strings, gradually breaks into a chorus that one could easily imagine Chris Stapleton singing, in one of his rootsier moments. 

This is followed by the pulse-quickening, almost rock beat of ‘Let’s Get Out of the City’, the beat suggesting the escape offered by the lyrics. This has a pop rock feel that carries echoes of Springsteen, Petty, even The Killers, but with a British understatement that prevents any chance of parody. It’s got a punch the air chorus that is bound to go down well live. 

Existing fans of Dunlop will likely be pleased to find the folk storytelling still in place on songs like ‘Midday Mass’, with a nicely placed accordion in the mix. The contemplative ‘For All The Trees’ is a rather gorgeous addition to his songbook, and it seamlessly blends into closer ‘1989 San remix Conqueror’ for an elegiac end to the record. 

With ‘Out of the Rain’, Dunlop and Moray have produced an album with a big, warm sound, excellent songs and fine playing. There is so much to enjoy on this record, and repeated listens unveil level on level of depth that is richly rewarding. Here comes the summer, people, and here comes a record to soundtrack it. 


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Alan Peatfield

Spot on, Jonathan. Absolutely stunning with every track a winner.