Here we have the seventh in what is undoubtedly one of the most important series for anyone into Americana folk or bluegrass. For me, each album is a way into a world of which I have little knowledge or understanding, as generally I have never previously come across the musician involved. Whoever the artist is who has been invited to participate by Dan Emery, I know the result will be an absolute delight and so far, I have been right every time. Loops has for years been upright bassist/backing vocalist in Deep Chatham and Lost Dog Street Band, before moving into the spotlight his debut release ‘Into The Night’. Here we follow the same scenario of this series, in that Loops is literally under the magnolia tree in the back yard of the studio and the microphones are set not only to record his vocals and gently picked guitar, but also the ambient background sound and cicadas.
It always feels as if the listener is sat there in the back yard, cold beer in hand, trying hard not to make a sound so the spell will not be broken. The only way to listen to the music is with headphones and no distractions, so that we are actually there, in the moment. Loops is certainly tuned into his surroundings as he sounds incredibly relaxed, as if he is just performing for himself or a loved one, with no stresses or strains. He has a delicate touch on the guitar, almost as if he is summoning the notes from the instrument, caressing as opposed to striking the strings, and then over the top we have his vocals. His voice is world weary, full of angst and emotion, yet also clear with an inner strength. One gets the impression he has been through a great deal, but he is out the other side, and we are being let into his world. There is a sense of honesty throughout, and the music is never rushed yet at the same time it is not tardy as he moves along at just the right pace to ensure we the listener are always emotionally invested.
This has certainly got me interested in hearing more from Loops in the future, and yet again I feel grateful to Emery for capturing another magical night under the magnolia tree.
9/10 Kev Rowland