Jeffrey Halford and The Healers “West Towards South” (Floating Records, 2019)

This is the ninth album from Jeffrey Halford and the Healers. Halford was originally from Texas, but moved at an early age to California. He has been described as a soulful, blues-influenced storyteller, and does this album have stories. You’ll have to make up your own mind as to whether it is a series of stories – ten to be precise – in one album, or one story, in ten parts taking in archetypal ‘wild west’ scenarios such as gambling in  ‘A Town called Slow’, and the Goldrush on ‘The Ballad of Ambrose and Cyrus’.

The thread of the story is the aforementioned brothers Ambrose and Cyrus and their ‘journey’ through America – not one of those ‘sickly’ journeys that all aspiring wannabe stars have to have on the many talent shows that clog up national TV in the UK – but it’s fair to say the brothers have obviously had their struggles, and this message comes across in the vocals. Not quite the spoken word style, but not far removed. Add in a prominent guitar sound, and it makes for an impressive album that is an amalgam of Americana and Blues with a sprinkle of Acoustic, something for everyone really, unless you only listen to Rap music, in which case it’s doubtful you will be reading this review anyway.

The songwriting and vocals are greatly enhanced by The Healers, who consist of Paul Olguin on Bass, Jim Norris on Drums and Rich ‘Goldie’ Goldstein on guitar. Without them, it would be a good album, but their addition really adds to the atmosphere and the musicianship is to be commended.

This is a band comfortable in what they are doing; not that this means they are simply going through the motions – far from it. They seem to know what they do well is what they enjoy doing, and continue to do so. They have toured with some notable bands over the years, such as Los Lobos, George Thorogood and Gregg Allman, so it seems the music business feels the same way.

Storytelling the Americana way
8/10

Author: Tris Robinson

I am a child of the 60's, the early 60's I agree, and born, but never lived there, in Sussex. Named after an exploding volcanic island (feel free to check Wikipedia) I always thought it could've been worse, thankfully Etna nor Krakatoa East of Java were not exploding in 1961. My teenage years were in Northumberland, but my working life since then has been in the Midlands, and I still live here now. Married to Sue, 2 children and a labrador. How very sitcom of me. Hobbies are music (you don't say) and travel / real ale / football / sometimes all at once.

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