The Southern Companion – Shine A Little Light
Finally, the long awaited and much anticipated (certainly by me and I am pretty certain I am not the only one) 2ndalbum by Country Lowdown favourites and triple BCMA award winners, The Southern Companion is here. This album has been a long time in the making. Darren Hodson and the boys are all professional musicians and spent a lot of 2017 and 2018 on the road with Lulu and Tom Jones. As a result, it was difficult for them to all get together to write, practise and record. The boys live fairly close to me and I see them as often as I can although I was well into double figures before I finally saw the whole band. I actually asked Darren who the “new boy” was, only to be told it was Simon Johnson, Darren’s co-founder of the band!
Shine A Little Lightis not actually available yet, but it is on pre-sale. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek; here is what I thought. Will it live up to 1000 Days of Rain?
Seeing the band so often I have heard a few of the new tracks live and I have to say the album starts with a really odd track. Billy’s Brotheris quite doleful and ends up with Billy going through the windscreen of his car! Darren’s voice has his usual magnificence though. I imagine it was a therapeutic track to actually write.
Can I Get A Witness seems a familiar track (and it isn’t the Marvin Gaye track!) There seems to be familiar lines in it, it is a beautiful track and has some cleverly written words.
My favourite track by far is Songbird, written for Darren’s young daughter as she started school. The only one in the family not ready for this event was Darren. It is a beautiful track full of love and brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. Curiously my favourite track on 1000 Days of Rain is Lullaby For G, also written for Darren’s daughter!
A track tricky to figure out isFew Too Many Hours. It starts by sounding like a love song, but then you gradually realise that alcohol is the subject! It is an acoustic track with just Darren & his guitar.
Already Gone is a song of loneliness. I think it is fairly well known that Darren is very much a family man and although he loves playing live, when he is on the road he misses his wife, daughter and home very much.
I am really glad the band held out and produced the whole album, it would have been easier and quicker for them to do an EP, but as a fan, I prefer a full album. The artwork on the album cover and the CD is amazing, designed by Darren’s sister Becky Barrow, who is a very talented artist. What a family that was when they were growing up!
For me, I don’t think this album lives up to 1000 Days of Rain, but after that album I had very high expectations! It has some very cleverly written songs, although a couple, like In The End(which is less than a minute long) don’t really make sense. It is talking about dividing friends after a break up – I would like to hear the story behind that one and also Lie To Me.
It is an album I will definitely be playing on a regular basis, but it is more of a Sunday morning album rather than a getting ready to go out on a Friday night album. However, it is good diversification from the last album and one I’m going to enjoy listening to.
Pre-Order here: https://itunes.apple.com/…/album/shine-a-little…/1442365878…
Can I Get A Witness
Can’t Get There From Here
Few Too Many Hours
Great American Mistake
Lie To Me
You Are Not Alone
And In The End
Last Rays Of The Sun