‘Every Soul A Story’ is the debut solo album from Neil Bob Herd, the former lead singer and guitarist of Alt Bluegrass band, The Coal Porters and an eclectic mix it is. Herd is ably backed by The Dirty Little Acoustic Band which consists of fellow ex-Coal Porter Paul Fitzgerald (various instruments), Glenn Lambert (bass) and Gary Smith-Lyons (drums). On some tracks they’re superbly augmented by Lucy Edwards (accordion) and Gemma White (fiddle).
The ten excellent tracks cover everything from pure Americana with pedal steel and acoustic guitars on the likes of ‘As Much As I Need To’, to out and out rockabilly with slap-bass and lots of snare drum on the opening track ‘Bad Land’. There’s some grungy guitar on ‘Best Song’ with its echoes of Them’s seminal sixties hit ‘Gloria’. Then there’s some gentle, banjo heavy, folk music on another track with a sixties feel ‘Leave Only Love (Old Dog)’. There’s even a traditional-sounding Scottish sea shanty with plenty of “Ho, ho’s” and a squeezebox on ‘The Colour Of History’.
And it’s his Scottish roots that gives Herd’s voice and the album a distinct flavour. It was The Proclaimer’s that convinced him to sing in a Scottish accent and he spent a few years on the folk circuit as the “Scots Billy Bragg” although on ‘Every Soul A Story’ the timbre and tone of Herd’s voice could lead to him being tagged as the “Scots Nick Lowe” – and that’s intended as a compliment.
As well as an excellent singer and guitarist, Herd is also a superb songwriter and on the album there are songs about friendship, love, brotherly affection, the human condition and even time travel!
Recorded “Basement Tapes” style in the band’s East Kent “gang hut” with producer Dan Swift (Snow Patrol, Aqualung, British Sea Power) at the helm, ‘Every Soul A Story’ has ten very different stories and Herd and his band tell them all very well.