Classic Americana Albums: Bennett Wilson Poole “Bennett Wilson Poole”

Aurora Records, 2018

As we hear the brilliant news that their long awaited follow up album ‘I Saw A Star Behind Your Eyes, Don’t Let It Die Away‘ is imminent, there couldn’t be a better time to look back at Bennett Wilson Poole’s eponymous debut, released back in March 2018. It is an amazing album, a real musical delight, and without doubt, a classic americana album well worthy of inclusion in this AUK feature.

The eleven songs are written and performed by Robin Bennett (Goldrush, The Dreaming Spires), Danny George Wilson (Grand Drive, Danny And The Champions Of The World) and Tony Poole (Starry Eyed And Laughing, and very much the Rickenbacker maestro) and are full of songcraft of the highest calibre. They contain wonderful melodies, glorious three-part vocal harmonies and an abundance of twelve-string guitar riffs. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young have clearly been in the background, that can be seen from the album’s cover, but the sounds are completely fresh and the lyrics address very current issues.

The album opener, ‘Soon Enough‘, written by Bennett, is an upbeat jingly-jangly tune that evokes a cross between The Byrds and The Travelling Wilburys, each verse embracing alternating lead vocals from each band member and their voices coming together gloriously in the choruses. There are nods to Buffalo Springfield and Poco with the psychedelia-infused tones of ‘The Other Side Of The Sky‘ and ‘That Thing Called Love‘, both songs that bring a smile and a real feel-good factor. In contrast, ‘Hide Behind A Smile‘, a soul-tinged and beautiful Bennett Wilson collaboration, deals with mental health and coping with anxiety, whilst ‘Hate Won’t Win‘, credited to all three band members, written in the aftermath of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, features an incredible climactic guitar solo reminiscent of Neil Young. Towards the end of the album, the acoustic, country-tinged ‘Find Your Own Truth‘ also addresses the need for reparation and hope in a country currently full of toxic politics and politicians. The album closes with the epic ‘Lifeboat (Take A Picture Of Yourself)’, written by Poole, the inspiration being the front page of a newspaper framing an article on ‘selfies’ next to a photo of a refugee boat in the Mediterranean. “Is this the world that we’ve been living for? Where is the love that we preach? Man the lifeboat and mine the shore.”

Bennett, Wilson and Poole so enjoyed making and performing this music together, something that really shines through on every track. Their musical influences are clear, from 60s pop to 70s rock and beyond, but this is a really vibrant and original album, and of such high quality that it deserves to be regarded as a ‘Classic Americana Album’.

About GrahamBollands 28 Articles
Proud dad of Jess, Harry and Lucie. Was a headteacher for 17 years and now pleased to share my experiences working as a university tutor training the next generation of primary teachers. Now living the dream in North Devon, doing up a barn, growing vegetables, walking the coastpath, volunteering on a farm alongside young adults with learning difficulties, presenting a weekly radio show, singing in a choir, and whenever possible, listening to great music and going to gigs.
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Thanks for that thorough review. Please don’t forget, people, to listen to Starry Eyed and Laughing albums too!

Mark McCall

Good shout Graham, haven’t played this one for a while, saw your review last night and had it on all day! Some great songs.