Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kevin Miller - Blood On Sandy River

Hear The Track Here

As a young boy growing up in a very austere 1950's Britain, I sought solace in an imaginary world, suitably supplied by my local flea pit (Ed: local cinema) and an unending supply of rugged, plain speaking frontiersmen and pioneers as portrayed by Hollywood. All complete bollocks of course, but it isn't something you notice much when the smell of gunsmoke is in your nose and mouth and the whirr of deadly Injun arrows surrounds and encircles you behind the wagons. Clean cut, wholesome heroes like Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger and yes John Wayne in all his guises completely enthralled me, as music and pop groups would enthrall me in the coming Beatles decade. So consequently between the ages of 5 and 12 I spent most of my time riding a lonesome trail, fighting baddies, blood crazed indians and any other terror that might threaten a small boys existence. What can I tell you, it was a VERY innocent time, and one I look back on with fondness when I consider how my own children have to grow up with.

Speaking of children, Kevin's last track for review was One Big Happy Family (May 2010), where he dragged his entire family into making the track, and very good it was too, as have been all the tracks I have heard from him. While this kind of country flavoured rock is not going to be every bodies style, I certainly appreciate it, especially when done well. Blood On Sandy River covers a subject that exploded the whole Wild West myth and one my generation discovered with the book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, a seminal book in my own understanding of the American West myth. Essentially written from the native Indian perspective, the book traces endless betrayals, broken promises and needless death that typified the American government's stance on Indian rights. A tough subject then to make a central theme of a music track.

This song though centres on the Sand Creek Massacre another depressingly familiar tale of bloody murder. As I have said many times lately, I have a great fondness for the musical form known as Americana and if any track fully qualified that tag it would be this one. As befits the sombreness of the subject matter, the instrumentation is exactly right, carrying the song along on a bed of strings (acoustic guitars, mandolins etc) that evoke America with every note. The song is also sung from the native Indian point of view and is IMHO all the better for it, and its obviously a subject Kevin Miller has studied much to his eternal credit. Moreover, what finally comes out of this whole thing is a highly enjoyable moral fable that is as intriguing as it is toe tappingly catchy.

MUST HAVE Americana

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