Genre: Hard Rock/ Folk
Country: N. Ireland
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Ricky Warwick (New Model Army, The Almighty, Thin Lizzy tribute band, Black Star Riders), brilliant and restless as always, presented to us – right before the release of the new (third Black Star Riders record – a compilation having the quite long title “When Patsy Cline was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang the Blues)/Hearts on Trees”, released via Nuclear Blast. In fact it’s about 2 separate records released in 2014 (with a non – existent distribution of An Approved Recordings) which are considered the forth and the fifth record of this mighty North Irish singer.
I recall a time, somewhere between 1992 – 1993, when I started getting familiar with The Almighty and consequently Warwick via a picture in the “Fear of The Dark” CD and through that picture, I discovered the outstanding record “Soul Destruction”. Although I kept a superficial relationship with his ongoing career, in 2012 I stumbled upon the Thin Lizzy formation – which should be considered a crime to use this name – that quickly turned into Black Star Riders and surprised me once more with his unique performance. Since then I kept up with his moves and waited for his new pieces of work.
In “When Patsy Cline was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang the Blues)” Warwick avoids surprises and moves on safe paths. He uses cleverly all the tricks he has learnt throughout all these years involved in the music industry, the same synthetic formulas, offering exactly what you’re waiting for. All of the aforementioned comments refer to the first record, where the songs have electric guitars and move toward the Hard Rock field and could be easily considered a release coming from the BSR. Hard Rock and Thin Lizzy enthusiasts will see this effort with a positive eye despite the expected structure of the songs, since their quality doesn’t allow grumblings, but a cold beer in hand to enjoy them. Songs that stand out: “The Road To Damascus Street”, “Toffee Town” and “If You’re Not Going To Leave Me … (I’ll Find Someone Who Will) (personal favorite).
The first record includes the CD “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy And & Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues” plus 3 bonus tracks: “Ghost Town Road”, “The Whiskey Song” and “Tank McCullough Saturdays” (electric version).
The second album includes the record “Hearts On Trees” plus 5 more bonuses: “Love Owes”, “I Can See My Life (From Here)”, “The Ugly Truth”, “Hell Or Highwater” and “Eight Bells”. In this one Mr. Warwick, alongside his good friend Sam Robinson (who has co-written all the tracks), continues his path from the point where “Belfast Confetti” stopped – a record that was released in 2009 by DR2 Records. The tracks are more sentimental and emotionally charged despite the absence of electricity, while more personal/ biographical / narrative elements appear in the lyrics. “Said Samson to Goliath” is a great track, just like the folk-ish “Schwaben Redoubt”. Everything’s elaborately written and Warwick’s performance stands out in an overall excellent effort.
Guest artists: Joe Elliot (Def Leppard), Damon Johnson (Thin Lizzy/ Black Star Riders), Andy Cairns (Therapy?), Billy Morrison (Billy Idol), Nathan Connolly (Snow Patrol), Ginger Wildheart, Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) & Richard Fortus (Guns ‘N’ Roses/ Dead Daisies).