A wonderfully atmospheric record with a rich sense of place...
'Broken Stay Open Sky'

There’s an old truth that enlightenment can be found anywhere, but – personally speaking – it can be a little difficult to ascertain the truth in the endless headlong rush of city life.

Red River Dialect songwriter David Morris has always merged his spiritual practice with his art, releasing three albums of splendid if oft-overlooked musicality. This new release – the group’s first on Paradise Of Bachelors – deserves a fate guided by much more prominence, given the sheer richness both of the songwriting and performances contained within.

A band with Cornish roots but a London base, Red River Dialect feel the push and pull between rural life and city inspiration, between the metropolitan mosaic of culture that guides them and the sense of tradition that keeps them rooted.

There’s a beautifully Celtic feel to much of the material on ‘Broken Stay Open Sky’, whether that’s the lilting fiddle line on ‘Juniper/The View’ or the slight drone feel to the chords on ‘Aery Thin’. This is matched to a sense of modern developments in Americana – imagine Steve Gunn transplanted to Kernow and you’d be close.

A beguilingly atmospheric record, this new album from Red River Dialect seems to be in perpetual transition, coming close to but never quite achieving that sense of return. It’s there in the chords – the endless expanse of ‘Open Sky (bell)’ perhaps, or the discord of ‘Gull Rock’ – and it’s there in the lyricism, an incessant wandering across meta/physical landscapes.

Starting from a blank slate Red River Dialect seemingly completed this new album entirely in the studio, embracing improvisation, change, and their gut instincts in the process. It paints the material in a refreshing lustre, the ensemble arrangements sketched out with a bracing looseness.

In the notes for the record David Morris utilises a quote from the I-Ching, commenting: “Thirty spokes converge at the hub, but emptiness completes the wheel.”

With the final notes of album finale ‘Campana’ driving towards conclusion, the fiddle grace and vocal mourning, it’s clear that Red River Dialect’s wheel will be turning for some time yet.


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