Finally, a CD: “The Lover’s Song”. Eleven of Mr Hanaway’s beautiful tunes for just £10 UK, delivered in a chichi shiny-white padded bag. Play it over and over again in the discomfort of your own home, droning along at the top of your voice until you go hoarse. It comes with a 12-page booklet with the lyrics, cleverly printed so that you can read them without a magnifying glass.
All recorded and mixed by bassist Andrew Burnham, who was also responsible for the design of the CD package. And it would be remiss not to mention the rest of the band: lead singer Jo Nicholson Smith; guitarist, synth player and webmaster Colin Wight; and Chris Ford, guest drummer. Not forgetting Penny Hedger at Alpha Duplication (High Wycombe), Jamie Hyatt at Glasshouse Studios (Cumnor), and Kate Roncoroni (Herne Hill) who re-designed the OftW logo.
But how to purchase, I hear you cry? Just go to the Contact page. You will hear from us within 24 hours. You can pay by PayPal, cheque or bank transfer.
Feedback from listeners
“It’s great – very professional! Favourite has to be the title track The Lover’s Song closely followed by The Wrong Words. We just played it again yesterday.”
“For a country guitarist this is complicated music, and tellingly Cowboys and Astronauts is my favourite cut (it’s also the simplest song). Just shows you how much I know…“
“Just listened to the album again. I really like Cowboys and Astronauts, Planet of Our Dreams and I’m So Lazy. C’s favourite is North Parade!”
” I like Planet… very true sentiment. Integrated playing of guitars with keys and very skilled vocals… the subtle melodic changes are difficult to sing! The Lover’s Song – good song. Catchy chorus! I liked And When She Woke a lot too: the care and thoughtfulness in the lyrics, musical ideas, arrangements and instrumental performances. They are complex songs. Jo’s vocal is also very pleasing.”
“It’s bright, fresh and has some lovely melodies. It’s reminiscent of Fairport Convention. It’s been well produced and there are many songs with a catch to them. I personally like The Lover’s Song.”
“My favourite song is And When She Woke. I love the way the words of all the songs are so poetic and tell a story, the whole album is growing on me, I like it more, the more times I listen to it. Jo’s voice is beautiful and blends very well with the other voice and the instrumentation is very good. You can really feel the care and time that has been put into the production of it.”
“We listened to the CD the evening we received it. Very impressed, especially with Jo’s vocal range.”
“My top track is The Wrong Words – nice combination of bitter-sweet lyrics, arrangement, and musicianship. Other highlights for me include the instrumental section on The Lover’s Song and the array of guitar sounds used across the album.”
“I’ve really enjoyed listening to it. The arrangement of the tracks works particularly well, though I was immediately drawn to one called Cowboys and Astronauts – my current favourites are Beware the Sensitive Child and the title track. It’s now vying for ‘album of the year’ alongside Mary Chapin Carpenter’s The Dirt and the Stars.”
“Very different from my kind of music, but a really good recording, must be a good studio as balances were very good.”
“My first impressions are very favourable and that it is in parts reminiscent of early Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny, a band I still listen to regularly.”
“Very recognisably Bern’s lovely songs. Too early to say if I have an absolute favourite but currently very fond of Cowboys and Astronauts.”
“My favourite? The Lover’s Song for me (it’s close between that and Cowboys and Astronauts).”
“Well a lovely surprise arrived in the post today ! My favourite is Litter on the Shore.”
“For me music always comes first and words second, but I have found with your album it’s really worth listening to both. You do have a very gifted composer and writer. My knowledge of music outside classical mainstream is pathetic (putting aside my adolescent years), so I don’t know how to compare you with others ). But put all that aside. I liked the sound very much and the songs I was particularly drawn to were in the middle: Cowboys and Astronauts and Planet of Our Dreams.”
“Especially like Cowboys and Astronauts.”
“You should be very pleased with yourselves for producing a fine piece of work. Be very proud because it’s yours. I like the vocal harmonies, the harmonica and keyboards. It’s a pity it isn’t a concept album as the writing lends itself to telling a story. Why is it I can’t get “into your arms” out of my head? How dare you!”
Our own review notes
*Other reviews may be available (“These deluded dinosaurs etc…”)
1. Guiding Hand
Hanaway sets a cracking pace and they sprint away like Blondie in their pomp. A joyful ditty – almost a hymn, with its hint of divine providence. When we look up at the stars, is somebody looking down at us? Deeply profound.
2. Litter on the Shore
Quirky love tale with a whiff of The Kinks, narrated by JNS over an ocean of 70s sound. C, Bb, D minor, E, C9, A, D, B minor, F# minor, G, F, E minor, Bb, F and back to C, Bb… right in the O-zone.
3. And When She Woke
Oh Lordy, Maestro Hanaway’s haunting finger-pickin’ tunes! This lyric coruscates with sprinklings of Lear and magic dust courtesy of La Smith and her mark-tree. Astral waltzing that made one critic swoon.
4. Cowboys and Astronauts
Childhood games morph into first love, recollected in wistful tranquillity by Ms Smith. Hanaway blows a campfire harmonica over a wall of guitars, bass and drums. Are y’all listening, Nashville?
5. Planet of Our Dreams
A witty and surreal concoction that just might be a chanson by Juliette Gréco. Dare I mention “Petula Clark”? The rarely-heard Suzuki Q-Chord brings even more sparkle to a catchy tune. ¡Cha cha cha!
6. I’m So Lazy
They used to open with this shuffle back in the last century, and it’s survived largely unadulterated. BH shows off on guitar, piano and vocal – with APB’s “precision” bass to the fore. A whole lotta chords.
7. Beware the Sensitive Child
Fun and mayhem as the crumblies attempt to keep a tiny tot entertained. How quickly a baby becomes an independent – not to say opinionated – human being! Granny Smith puts us across her knee.
8. The Wrong Words
Another that harks back to the 80s, remodelled and with a pronounced Latin accent by Don Bernardo. Rock solid from the band, harmony vocals from the Tuneful Twosome and slinky gee-tar from “Isla” Wight.
9. Other Hearts
Deuxième chanson pour Mme Smith, over piano and guitars. You can almost hear the tears. Terminal communication breakdown (an OftW speciality), as l’amour goes sour. Dripping with distress and distain.
10. The Lover’s Song
Hail the English ballad from J. Barleycorn to R. Thompson! An anthem to close Glastonbury – permanently. Wave your virtual lighter and sing that tune that’s buried deep in your heart.
11. North Parade
They used to rehearse in a basement up Banbury Road, then go to the pub and talk of becoming musicians. Ha! Still talking about it 40 years on. Tempus, as they say, fugit, before you can shout “T.S. Eliot”!