UK Americana at its best, sincerity in songwriting and singing, backed by a great band.
Hannah White is one of a group of Americana artists who have been growing in stature over the last few years and are now producing the best work of their career. The common denominator is often Michelle Stodart, who produces here as well as playing Bass. ‘Hail The Fighter’ has a dusty Spaghetti Western feel to it thanks to Keron Marshall’s guitar. The mood softens with ‘Ordinary Woman’, although Marshall’s guitar and the Western feel remain the principal theme. White’s voice and the sincerity of her singing and her writing can at times sound like a throwback to the early 60s, which is a good thing. It’s as if she’s gone back to the root of pop songwriting and used that to invent a fresh language in her songs.
Single ‘Chains of Ours’ has been compared to Fleetwood Mac, and you can see where that has come from. But the urgency in White’s voice and the drive of the chorus have far more edge to them than much of the Mac’s later output. The first of a list of guests appears on this song with Daisy Chute on Banjo. ‘One Foot’ is a percussive, experimental tune. White plays dulcimer, and didgeridoo. Daisy Chute returns on vocals and Basia Bartz’ violin gets its first chance to shine. It’s an intriguing song.
On ‘One Night Stand’ White features some classic country harmonies. Bristol’s own Holly Carter contributes pedal steel, and the song comes across somewhere close to some of Neil Young’s more atmospheric work. ‘The Aftershow’ is a tougher song. Beth Rowley is the guest this time on harmonica, and Lars Hammersland: Hammond organ and drummer Emma Holbrook, who plays superbly throughout the album, provide the propulsion. This rocking country tune is one of the highlights of the album with the band digging deep into the tune. Another highlight is country ballad ‘Rosa’ with Holly Carter’s poignant pedal steel playing making the song.
‘Clementine’ adds some country soul to the mix with Lars Hammersland’s Fender Rhodes piano, and White channelling Maria Muldaur and Bobby Gentry. You’re almost waiting for the Muscle Shoals Horns to come sailing in, and the fact that there is no release of the tension in the song, is a great piece of production from Michelle Stodart. Brilliant song. ‘A Separation’ closes the album and features Ricky Ross on vocals, and piano. Very much a coda after the previous song, it has a Celtic lullaby quality to it.
Hannah White’s last album ‘About Time’ was a great album, and won her an AMA UK 2023 Award, but this time she has managed to top that with an album that has reached a new height. She says that “Music has such a power over me. It’s got me through some of the darkest times and I don’t know what I’d be doing without it.” With ‘Sweet Revolution’, White has found the power in her music