"One of the greatest British Songwriters"
Bob Harris

Old Sticks To Scare A Bird 

Maverick Magazine.
Just as English Folk catches up with her Angie takes another leap forward

Although she still looks like a fresh faced teenager Angie Palmer has been in and around the British Folk scene for quite a few years now, starting out as a busker and eventually playing every Folk Club between Lands End and John O’Groats, before basing herself in France when fame and fortune avoided her in her home country.

Now; with her fifth album; Folk music has finally caught up with Angie Palmer as Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran, Noah and the Whale combine the best in Americana with traditional British Folk music to create what is thought of a ‘modern commercial sound,’ but is exactly what Angie Palmer has been doing for the last 10 years.

OLD STICKS TO SCARE A BIRD starts with the potently political Ballad of Jack Everyman when Angie barely contains her anger as she tells us your taxes line his pockets/and your labour fills his store/and he still keeps you poor. It’s as good as anything Billy Bragg wrote in his heyday; only with a melody.

Raising Hurricanes is a break up song that combines English Folk and Blues but sounds like it was written in Louisiana (now do you see why she’s difficult to categorise?).

Angie Palmer can even do cute – Postcard from Paris which is a love song to that great city and it works on every level; especially the blend of guitars, violins, violas and mandolin that give it an ethereal feel.

Trad. Folk rears its head on the beautiful Song of Drowning Sailors; which could have been written any time in the last 100 years; but was written by Angie and Paul Mason for this album, and goes to show what great songwriters they actually are.

As usual, I have a favourite track and here it’s Dirty Little Secret which is fun rocking Americana soaked song, where the title tells you all you need to know.

Haunted by a Stranger is one epic story split into two songs as the narrator gives us both sides of a fleeting moment in time and the result is astonishing.

Speaking of epic; the finale is the eight minute long Fresco when Angie and her band slide their collective hand inside your chest and gently squeeze your heartstrings with an arrangement made in Heaven by Angels.Alan Harrison

Blabber 'N' Smoke
Lancashire’s Angie Palmer is one of the best kept UK singer/songwriter secrets. Despite the likes of Bob Harris championing her and a slew of fine releases she steadfastly remains just slightly under the radar. A pity really as she’s one of our most literate songwriters and capable of delivering songs that wouldn’t be out of place in Joni Mitchell’s oeuvre.

For her latest album, Old sticks To Scare a Bird Palmer continues to offer some sublime Mitchell type sojourns with Postcard From Paris a lilting slice of reportage detailing a Paris morning while William Of The Desert is a desiccated dream poem that recalls Sandy Denny with some wonderful playing from her band. The album is sequenced as if it was a two sided vinyl affair with side two dedicated to Palmer’s delicate musings while the first half allows her to let her hair down and rock out a little. In reality this just means that the majority of the songs on side one are a little fuller, more fleshed out with instrumentation and strings. She does rock out on Dirty Little Secret which is a funky little blues rocker with guitarist Billy Buckley letting rip. Truth be told and despite it being a fine performance in its own right its almost akin to finding your parents making out on the sofa. You might admire their panache but it does upset the equilibrium. Little By Little is another up-tempo number but it flows much more smoothly with sparkling mandolin from Richard Curren and a driving rhythm that harks back to Mitchell’s Hejira. Time Of Thunder closes the first half and it’s a more successful amalgamation of the fire and earth that make up the album as Curran’s violin and Buckley’s guitar gimble and gyre like the venerable Fairport Convention back when Richard Thompson was a member. The rhythm section drive the song along as Palmer wallows again in the Denny stream. The most successful song on side one is Raising Hurricanes where Palmer tells a witchy tale of revenge that marries the traditional narrative of English folk song with a slinky Dobro driven southern states feel.

Side two starts off with the straightforward Song Of Drowning Sailors, a traditional sounding folk tale. Aside from the aforementioned Postcard From Paris and William Of the Desert Palmer offers two sides of the story of a failed love in the two part Haunted By A Stranger, his tale is wintry while hers is brighter and optimistic. She closes with the wonderful Fresco which is breathtaking in its delivery with a tender guitar solo, almost like a singing saw, casting light on a perfectly sung oblique love song. The ghost of Sandy Denny and the spirit of Joni Mitchell hover around this but ultimately Palmer owns this sublime song as she sings gloriously throughout it. Tender, affecting and passionate this is an almost perfect song which deserves to be heard by one and all.

Paul Kerr

NetRhythms
Reviewing each of Angie’s previous albums in turn, I’ve not been able to avoid tagging this exceptional Lancashire-raised (now France-based) artist as a best-kept secret; and, despite persistent championing by Bob Harris and in the pages of many well-respected music publications, that status inexplicably remains even now, several years down the line. And yet Angie, in collaboration with her lyricist Paul Mason, has delivered some of the most lasting of singer-songwriter albums of the past decade, and her career now gains another memorable instalment with the release of her new CD.

Old Sticks… has been deliberately conceived as a "two-sider" in the tradition of the vinyl LP, with Side One a series of songs with more electric, comparatively rocked-up arrangements and Side Two containing the more delicate (and delicately-scored) numbers. Although there’s not really a weak track as such, the "second side" arguably brings the stronger material.

Richard Curran’s spirited, sinuous violin work provides a link from the latter song into Side Two (after you hear the actual side-turnover being made!). Here, string textures feature more prominently, culminating in the glorious fulsomely-orchestrated sound of the eight-minute finale Fresco. Haunted By A Stranger is a masterly linked two-part opus that presents a pair of failed lovers’ contrasted perspectives on their experience, while the aforementioned Fresco conjures a fragile, dreamily beautiful, exotic soundscape that can’t fail to melt your eardrums time and again.

The adopted "two-sides-of-vinyl format" idea may not be the best method of introducing her music to a new listener, but on the other hand taken as a whole it still manages to embrace all the trademarks of Angie’s stylish, effortlessly genre-crossing "English Americana", and there’s plenty of her fine songwriting showcased within. Angie herself is on splendid form, and her band (the abovementioned Messrs. Curran and Buckley with bassist Ollie Collins and drummer Tim Franks) do a fantastic job and are brilliantly cleanly engineered by Alan Gregson.

Dave Kidman Jan 2013

ElectricGhost
Acclaimed UK singer-songwriter is usually labelled 'English Americana' but her music is much wider. The twelve songs on 'Old Sticks...' are the result of three years of writing and is an album of two musical 'sides' - side one being the loud one and side two an acoustic one. She blends raw power on the opener 'The Ballad of Jacke Everyman' and close with the haunting 'Fresco' with gorgeous subdued strings, crying slide and a stunning vocal. A real ElectricGhost favourite. Brilliant and highly recommended.

Lee Edwards


Meanwhile, as night falls...


The Independent on Sunday

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Fairytales, folk stories, enchanted forests and fiery lakes – so far so promising, as Angie Palmer's latest perfectly crafted offering gets a Proper release in the January lull.

'Meanwhile' is further proof that what "the British Lucinda Williams" lacks in Americana credentials (she's from Preston), she makes up for with a dues-paying busking-in-Paris past. "The mind has monster great and small/Just waiting for the night to fall" she sings on "Slip Away From Me". Palmer's night should fall more often.
Pick of the album: The spooky and epic 'Weeping Wood'

Reviewed by Simmy Richman

The Sun
Friday 9th jan 2009
ANGIE PALMER - Meanwhile As Night Falls Album of the Week
****
LISTEN to Angie’s lived-in voice and atmospheric country-folk-rock arrangements and you imagine she spends her time heading down dusty trails under Southern skies.
The truth is she’s a Brit who divides her time between Manchester and France but it’s no surprise she’s been described as our own Lucinda Williams.
Her smoky delivery suits these tales of love and betrayal. There’s a healthy air of mysticism when she enters the secret world of The Fiery Lake, based on a Russian folk story, or crosses the dark, bluesy terrain of Hunting The Wolf.
Worth turning the lights down low for.
SC

Rock'n'Reel
****
A Lancashire lass but Palmer makes records that sound like she grew up deep in the heart of America. Vocally Shawn Colvin is a reference point but closer to home echoes of Tanita Tikaram feature in the phrasing. Meanwhile. As Night Falls... has been two years in the writing: living on the edge of a forest the heart of rural France Palmer was drawn to the mystery of nightfall and all that it conceals. The result is a record strong on haunting lyrics and atmospherics. Nowhere is this better evidenced than on the deliciously spiced fairytale song ‘Hunting the Wolf’, where Palmer’s superb house band swamp things up effectively in the style of Tony Joe White. Preceding this is the superb ‘Slip Away From Me’ features suitably unsettling lyrics situated somewhere on the edge of a dream.

But it’s not all dark and devilish tales - the tender ‘If I Was’, sprightly ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and toe-tapping shuffle of ‘I Hear That Locomotive’ successfully lighten the tone. Nevertheless atmospheric story songs define Meanwhile and the concluding mini-epic ‘Weeping Wood’ is a superbly simmering twang-fest that reminds us just why Palmer’s narrative song writing talent has won her comparisons with both Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
Colin Hall

Americana-uk
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a musical surprise

Angie Palmer makes the difficult blending of literary allusions a la Angela Carter and the quick punch of country rock seem simple, ‘Hunting the Wolf’ fuses fairytale and Lucinda Williams in one coherent whole. From listening to the record you’d be hard pressed to tell that she’s from Preston, the seven years she spent in Paris may have infused her with a different sensibility and with her writing partner being the philosopher Paul Mason, may also add to the literary mix. There’s nothing dry about the songs, they are lyrical and flowing, ‘If I Was’ for example is a simple love song and ‘Deep Blue Sea’ rings with joy.

My usual problem with records of this kind from the likes of Shawn Colvin is that they are sometimes sterile in their perfection, thankfully here, though the music is impeccably played and arranged, it isn’t dry, B.J Cole’s pedal steel on ‘After the Lights Have Gone’ weeps musical tears with actual salt in them. The longest piece ‘The Weeping Wood’ sounds like something that could be narrated by Renee Sparks, the dark gothic atmosphere enhanced by urgent strings and twanging guitar that is slapped by cymbals setting up clashes that heighten the atmosphere which builds throughout the song developing into the kind of dark folk rock that the Walkabouts do so well. When all the themes come together for the powerful musical interlude they’ve built up power, like a forest fire grasping hold, it is soon doused by a swirling atmospheric mist that brings a superb ending to the record.
David Cowling

Irish World (abridged)
Palmer's new album is an English Country jewel
By Shelley Marsden - 18/02/09

Angie Palmer is a lady from Preston who given a guitar can create incredible licks and sing beautiful, enchanted ballads with her gritty, throaty vocals. Though compared to names like Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams in actual fact, Palmer is quite unique, with a depth, scope and sensitivity to her songs that are bolstered by a life of travel, like that of her idols.

Palmer’s new release takes in bluegrass, rockabilly, and acoustic country, and includes the epic Weeping Wood, a sweeping eight minute adventure. She is uncompromising in her genre-mixing, serving up folk, rock and blues with an equal amount of aggression and tenderness in her own narrative style.

This new CD was two years in the making. Most of it was made while Palmer was living on the edge of a forest in the depths of the French countryside. The songs on this record, in fact, are almost haunted by the troubling sense of what the night hides amidst a landscape of utter isolation.

‘Meanwhile...’ see the singer extending her talent for narrative song-writing further still, into the intriguing territory of Russian folk stories (The Fiery Lake), biblical parables (Hey Lazarus!) and classic fairy tales (Hunting the Wolf). ‘ Meanwhile…’ is an at times eery, epic and beautifully crafted album.

NetRythms.
Jan 2009

Angie’s fourth album, Tales Of Light And Darkness, came out almost three years ago and gained considerable airplay (notably on Bob Harris’s show) as well as a great critical reception.
The eagerly awaited followup, with a similarly nocturnal title, continues this exceptional singer-songwriter’s established tradition of atmospheric, brilliantly crafted writing that ranges over a wide gamut of Americana, folk and blues, faithfully and cleanly recorded. Just as Tales… was like Road part 2, so Meanwhile… is like Tales… part 2 in many ways, but importantly it also represents a significant (further) step forward in terms of stretching the already wide envelope – one might say (extending the metaphor), out to “large letter” size on the album’s awesome, cinemascope finale The Weeping Wood, a powerful epic folk-ballad-legend with a big production (string orchestra competing with western-style twang guitars) that Angie manages to keep under admirably tight rein. If anything, the musical content of this new batch of songs is even more varied than on previous albums, with Angie’s versatile voice equally adept at conveying forlorn heartbreak, determined resignation, gritty resolve and compelling storytelling troubadour.

Disc opener On The Eve, with Angie’s building emotional response bolstered by Hammond organ and whining steel guitar, is a classic, a classy act that’s real hard to follow, but stick in there through the album’s heady parade of changing moods and you’ll not be disappointed. In swift succession we experience the eerie folk-tale of The Fiery Lake, set to a deceptively gentle lapping rhythm, and the brooding, ominous nature of a relationship (Slip Away From Me). Then there’s Hunting The Wolf, a slinky, creepy werewolf saga couched in gris-gris rhythms and howling wah-wah guitars – another triumph of atmosphere-building – which is immediately capped (and completely contrasted) by the delicate, tender love song If I Was with its beautifully understated accompaniment, the latter quality being much in evidence also on the desperate steel-soaked weepie After The Lights Have Gone.

Maybe, just maybe the album’s perkier “relief points” (the carefree swinging wave-motions of Deep Blue Sea, and the Mystery-Train blues-rockabilly shuffle of I Hear That Locomotive) don’t hit home as much for me, but they’re better than fillers and assuredly, idiomatically done. As is the canny Hey Lazarus! (which sounds so authentic you might think it traditional, but like all the songs here it’s a joint composition between Angie and Paul Mason).

Once again, Angie’s in abundantly fine voice herself, and makes fullest and most effective use of her superb support crew (violinist Richard Curran, guitarist/dobro ace Steve Buckley and bassist Ollie Collins, with this time Tim Franks and Sophie Hastings sharing percussion duties) and brings in guests B.J. Cole and Alan Gregson on a couple of songs apiece. The digipack is attractive, the enclosed booklet’s a thing of beauty (aside from a couple of sections of the lyrics disappearing into a reader-unfriendly sunset).

Yes, Meanwhile… is a really haunting, impressive new addition to Angie’s recorded output, one that’s definitely set to be a fixture in my CD player.
David Kidman

HiFi Plus
Reviewed by DH

Angie Palmer is a great favourite of Bob Harris, a DJ who recognises a quality songstress when he hears one. I interviewed her and her partner Paul Mason for this magazine a few years back and came away hugely impressed by what they both had to say. Palmer’s likened to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan; the Joni references can be heard in her pure voice and the beauty and subtlety of her guitar playing, whilst I suspect the Dylan observations are aimed at the panoramic, deeply ethereal lyrics. That department is handled by Paul, and as on previous releases, he shows an amazing depth of knowledge and an ability to conjure up the richest imagery.

The Palmer/Mason partnership is balanced to perfection, and this album is probably their most fully realised work to date. The band Angie has around her are all first class musicians but they never crowd her out or smother the essence of the songs. When a real drive is needed, like on country rocker I Hear That Locomotive, they provide the necessary kick, but they drop back and caress on the more introspective numbers with equal aplomb.

Palmer and Mason wrote Meanwhile… deep in the heart of the French countryside surrounded by a dense forest, which may account for the mysterious and secluded feel of these beautifully written and performed songs.

ElectricGhost
Issue 13 January 2009

Acclaimed British singer-songwriter Angie Palmer has been dubbed ‘English Americana’. Her new album Meanwhile as night falls... concerns itself what nightfall conceals; a mix of country, folk, rock and blues served up with equal measures of aggression and tenderness.

The album was written whilst living for two years on the edge of a forest in the depths of the French countryside. This result is an extraordinary set of songs, informed by her amazing travelling life, that range from simple acoustic to the highly ambitious and haunting Weeping Wood, an eight-minute epic.

Her singular talent is backed by one of the best bands I have come across in awhile, the very aptly name Revelators. They are joined on this record by the legendary pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole and classical percussionist Sophie Hastings. Our links include a mesmerising cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower accompanied by BJ Cole.
This album reached us by chance and is treasured, don’t let it pass you by.
Lee Edwards

Q Magazine
Feb 2009
***
Being heavily championed by venerable Radio 2 DJ ‘Whispering Bob Harris hasn’t done much to distance Lancastrian Angie Palmer from the mass of female singer-songwriters. Her fifth album probably won’t change that. But operating where folk, blues, country and rock slide together and shot through with a distinctly English sensibility, it has enough assured moments to maybe pick up a few stray Lucinda Williams or Shawn Colvin fans. Weeping Wood, a darkly mysterious eight-minute epic that gets the full hovering strings, twangy guitar, Ennio Morricone treatment, even suggests that old Bob might have a point.
Peter Kane


Tales of Light and Darkness

HMV Choice July 2006
Fine English Americana from a substantial storytelling talent. It's quite a testament to the mature songcraft of Angie Palmer that 30 seconds into Fool's Gold, the first of these tales of light and darkness, she has you engrossed in her characters like an expert novelist. The track has an irresistible snap to it, perfectly blending acoustic and electric ingredients around a story of Dylanesque proportions in which you simply have to find out what happens next.

We don't have a British equivalent of the word Americana, but this already seasoned singer-songwriter from Manchester exudes a convincing fluency in the style that's rare among home grown performers. This is the fourth album by a woman who was busking around Europe at 18 and whose road miles have invested her measured, unhurried songs with depth and authenticity, further fuelled by literary inspirations from the likes of Steinbeck and Poe. The scent of folk, blues and country influences are always in the air, but the fragrance is peculiarly Palmer's.
Paul Sexton

Acoustic Magazine
With her throaty voice sounding like Beth Orton's tougher big sister, Angie Palmer's second album has lots of impact. It's hard to square the very American sound with a girl from Preston, but she is nevertheless utterly convincing. Steve Buckley's slide guitar bubbles away giving the songs a real charge and excellent fiddle work abounds as well, but it's Palmer's voice and lyrics that really grab you. Rare in this world of introspective singer songwriters, Palmer has a truly narrative style, at times recalling Dylan, and consummately literate. Her voice, world weary yet full of fire, delivers these with impressive conviction throughout suggesting that she must be a powerful live performer as well.

If there is a weakness here it's that the melody is sometimes neglected, but as a rule the force of Palmer's voice and the intimate yet punchy production carry these songs through anyway. The beautiful "Ravens" is a real exception to this mild ctiticism, haunting and memorable, with great impact, and regardless KT Tunstall has already shown that the British public has an appetite for this sort of hard driving folk. Once you factor in the beautifully detailed instrumental performances on this record, which are left plenty of space to shine through the mix, Palmer should be more than a match for her.
Sam Wise

Maverick ****(abridged)
A lyrically sharp album with gritty vocals and powerful music that makes you sit up and listen!

Angie Palmer is known for her strong use of European influenced narratives in her music and on this album she draws on literature as her main source as in the dark visions of Edgar Allan Poe on the broodingly tormented Ravens with Angie's wonderfully tortured and moving vocals pulling you in to the songs contents and moods.

The plaintive Columbus for a Day is about the death of a close friend and is such a beautiful eulogy that it begs for you to press repeat again so as to really listen to the words. The mood is carried on into The Ballad of John Henry with some fine harmonica sounds from Angie to compliment her stirring vocal delivery.
The arts figure again in the jauntily catchy Michelangelo and The Secret Between the Sun and the Moon is superb just for the pure simplicity of sound.

Throughout the album Angie is supported by some quite wonderful musicians forming perfect framework for Palmer's exquisitely edgy vocals as well as her fine musicianship on acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica. Palmer has been compared, quite fittingly, to Joni Mitchell and Lucinda Williams and her excellent songwriting partnership with Paul Mason has garnered analogies with Bob Dylan. Also championed by Bob Harris and only one of two female singer-songwiters chosen for his recent Best of British show proves the high esteem she is beginning to be held in.

This is a wonderfully diverse collection of music that should get her even more critical acclaim building on her last album Road which was included in HMV Choice's Top Ten.
David Knowles

Americana UK
Striking fourth release from Preston based songstress
With several fine reviews for previous releases under her belt and radio play from the venerable Bob Harris, it's strange that Palmer hasn't made a bigger name for herself by now. Released on her own aKrasia label this album, chockfull of fine songs sensitively played should give her a big push. Fronting a great band, acoustic based, with sterling guitar work from Steve Buckley and sweet violin from Richard Curran, the music flows beautifully, at times recalling the soundscapes of Joni Mitchell's Hejira or Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece. Taken at a leisurely pace throughout the songs are unhurried, allowing the players to stretch out creating some wonderful interplay. On the closer, Letter From Home, they approach that languid sound achieved on some of Nick Drake's work.

Opening song, Fool's Gold, is the jauntiest here, inspired by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov's stories the violin soars like Scarlett Rivera's on Dylans's Desire. On The Ballad of John Henry a man looks back at his misspent days as he prepares to face his maker, Buckley has an excellent slide solo, the equal of some of David Lindley's work. Premonition Blues is a wordy litany concerning climate change sung over sympathetic acoustic picking. The Rose of Sharon visits Steinbeck's displaced farmers heading for disappointment in the promised land, again the music is excellent with the violin especially impressive. Palmer's lyrics (co-written with Paul Mason) are above average and she has an attractive voice, low in the register, unforced and lived in.
Overall an excellent album. 8/10


Country Music People ****

My review of Angie Palmer's previous album 'Road' included the following gem of wisdom "This is one of those albums that exudes class from every pore and which is likely to provide new highlights each time it§ is played but which is difficult to describe in a review" and that's pretty much my view of this one, although one addition might be that this album needs to be listened to and it's not something just to be heard. ½

Many of the songs are about romance, often the end of same, although John Henry appears to be about the same bloke that Lonnie Donegan sang about, Premonition Blues could be about the apocalypse (or the Middle East situation if you prefer that description) while it would seem that Columbus For A Day is about a friend who died. The packaging again is delightful.

All the songs are collaborations between Angie Palmer and Paul Mason. Like 'Road' this follow-up album involves very literary lyrics - there is no singalongaAngie item. Other reviewers have compared Palmer to Joni Mitchell, but Mitchell feels rather indigestible to me. The songs here seem to me to be the product of a vivid imagination and quite a hard life up to now. Again like its predecessor the backing musicians are supremely tasteful, especially Richard Curran on violin and Steve Buckley on various guitars.

What to say of this? Well anyone who enjoyed 'Road' will also enjoy this one. Merely because 'Road' was my first exposure to Angie Palmer and this one doesn't have the same impact because it is no longer a novelty to hear anyone as original and polished as Angie Palmer, this is still better than 99% of the albums anyone will hear this year.
John Tobler


Fishrecords.co.uk
Angie's previous disc 'Road' was an excellent album that was a deserved critical and commercial success, but it was certainly never going to be an easy album to follow; from the first listen it's obvious that 'Tales of Light & Darkness' is a more than worthy successor that improves on 'Road' in every area.

The opening track 'Fool's Gold' sets the tone of the disc; it's a wordy but exceptionally well written song with some delicate but rhythmic guitar work and intelligent and interesting backing from the assembled musicians. In particular the various guitars (national, lap steel, dobro, electric and acoustic) are superb and there are some memorable violin and viola parts throughout the disc.

The album contains 10 songs and runs to almost 55 minutes, while none of the songs are overly long they're substantial pieces that allow both the lyrical narrative and musical themes to develop; these are full blooded singer/songwriter songs that are complete, assured and recorded without compromise.

The songs are strong and mature singer/songwriter ballads with that have elements of folk, country and blues in equal measure; comparisons are never easy and often not helpful but think Julie Miller and you'll not be too far away.

The writing combination of Angie and Paul Mason has produced 10 impressive songs, in particular 'Down on Zero Street' a tale of a condemned man sprung from jail and the confused and ultimately sad events that follow, other highlights include the memorable melody of 'Michelangelo' and the delicacy of 'Columbus for a Day'.

'Tales of Light & Darkness' is a superb album with quality at every turn, from the beautiful packaging through to the closing strains of 'Letters from Home'.
Very highly recommended.


Blues Matters

This, the forth CD from Angie Palmer, is shot through with all the correct ingredients to ensure that she is lifted up to a much higher profile, not only in the UK but hopefully worldwide.

As a writer Angie draws quite heavily upon literature as inspiration (with help from the philosopher Paul Mason) however she manages to ride the fine line between losing your attention with those references thereby boring the pants of you and drawing you into her world. She does the latter with ease and you are carried away on the lyrical and aural landscapes she creates on these, often long. storytelling outings.

True to tell that love and loss unfold before us as the CD progresses however it is the strong narrative songs that draw my attention. Fool's Gold is just a cinematic joy as it moves along at a good pace with fine picking and a gloriously haunting violin towards the end. Down on Zero Street weaves a tale around a hanging. Ravens, a dark sombre and ultimately powerful song follows prior to Premonition Blues, which is just fantastic.

Columbus For A Day is pure Joni Mitchell territory, simple in construction and feel it transport you to a place of peace on a bed of acoustic guitar and those haunting strings again. I loved the Dylanesque harmonica on The Ballad of John Henry before we pick up the tempo again with the melodic Michelangelo. Could this be a possible single?

So with strong elements of blues, folk and country as a base, Angie Palmer has produced a very fine collection of 10 songs. Add to it the beautiful packaging and you end up with an album with quality stamped all over it.
Graeme Scott

HiFi Plus
Partnerships play a major role in our world and come in many guises. Sometimes they work really well and sometimes they don't: Angie Palmer and Paul mason are a classic example of the former. Having met by chance (although I'm a great believer that nothing is), they have produced a body of work that rubs shoulders with the very best in their field. The words come courtesy of Paul and pull heavily on the deep and spiritual. He and Angie appear to have an almost telepathic understanding of the songwriting craft- it's hard to imagine either working with anyone else. This album follows on from the critically acclaimed 'Road', but this time round the emphasis is on a more full-blooded sound. Angie's singing a little harder than before, but that's not to say there aren't plenty of poignant moments too. 'Premonition Blues' is one of those moments; over the top of a hushed acoustic and banjo she echoes what must be at the forefront of our minds in these troubled times, the lyrics cutting hard and deep: "Well I heard somebody saying we're progressing everyday, I think they must be joking 'cos the end is on its way." This is a magical album, and to resist is madness. Go buy and enrich your lives beyond measure.
Andrew Hobbs

NetRythmns
Angie's already regarded by many as one of this country's finest female singer-songwriters, yet although her three previous albums gained increasing numbers of plaudits and significantly healthy airplay (Bob Harris being her most recent radio champion) she's still not yet quite made it into the wider consciousness of the nation. Tales Of Light And Darkness, her fourth album, is a work of considerable maturity and ought by rights to gain her that recognition. Although Angie's music still falls between readily-pigeonholeable stools, as it were, that shouldn't count against her as each successive album brings another different element of her musical personality out into the forefront. Angie moves easily between gentle folky rootsy Americana and more aggressive country-blues, even hinting at bluesy-rock, and virtually all points in between, and equally plausible in any of these idioms.

In many ways, Tales ... is like Road part two in many respects, with the superb playing of violinist Richard Curran common to both albums. On Tales ... Angie's trusty backing crew also includes Steve Buckley (electric guitar, dobro, lap steel), Ollie Collins (basses) and Tim Franks (drums), who together stretch out almost leisurely fashion to create an at times monumental backdrop for Angie's stories, each of which is a strong creation with its own separate identity. Once again all the songs were co-written with Paul Mason, displaying the high level of intelligence and literacy (both musical and lyrical) that we've come to associate with Angie's work. Some (like Fool's Gold and Down On Zero Street) embody a Dylanesque sense of narrative sweep, whereas Rose Of Sharon evokes Steinbeckian visions of the dispossessed. Some other songs have overtones of Joni Mitchell perhaps, with their homing in on altogether more personal journeys of love, loss and redemption; many, like Letters From Home, are highly reflective and steeped in the restless sense of a necessary moving-on that's very much tempered with realism. There are darker moments too, like Ravens, where the lover's desperation is conveyed with a rather Poe-esque severe beauty of imagery, and Premonition Blues with its looser feel and its old-timey, homespun philosophy of resignation. Columbus For A Day, perhaps the most personal statement of all, deals simply and poignantly with the death of a close friend. Throughout this range of emotions, Angie's voice proves ideally expressive, displaying a deep, worldly, gritty toughness with a distinctly tender edge - she's been compared to Lucinda Williams, but I think Angie's expressive potential is probably more akin to that of Julie Miller. So here's another impressive, highly assured set from Angie, housed in a neat and attractive digipack - high production and presentation values rule as before!
Dave Kidman


'ROAD'

HMV Choice: Top 10 Albums
July/August 2004
Singer-songwriter Angie Palmer blends folk and country with blues and rock and, while you can hear the influences of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she also manages to create her own distinctive sound.

Palmer's strong voice sounds equally at home on both melancholy ballads and chugging rockers-she gives a fine demonstration of her many different moods across the nine songs on 'Road', which finds her returning to her stripped down acoustic routes.

But don't panic-Angie Palmer is no navel-gazing, bedsit-anthem composer. She brings a remarkably mature approach to affairs of the heart and intelligently waxes philosophical here. Her willing ness to jam songs with so many high-culture reference points brings to mind Bob Dylan's mid- 1960s output, with the album?s last track, Down The Street Of The Cat Who Fished throwing up references to the likes of Godot, Catherine Deneuve and Desdemona.

Appropriately enough, Angie thanks 'Cafe Philosophique' for the aesthetics. This is definitely one for the grown ups.
Garth Cartwright

Mojo Magazine ****
Genuine Americana from Preston.

Imagine a Joni Mitchell raised on records by Robert Earl Keen. It's not hard to visualise. For Angie Palmer the road has seemingly gone on forever - first via a seven year jaunt round Europe and more recently a gaggle of homeland gigs involving bars and Barns in Cumbria. A guitarist who can fashion great licks at the drop of a collection cap - "the better I played the better I ate" -she is a writer of considerable distinction as her wordy but worthy opener, Footprints In The Snow, demonstrates in spades.

Backed by a band that includes fiddler Richard Curran(Bert Jansch), guitarist Mark Townson(The Swamp Dogs) and Keyboardist Alan Gregson(Cornershop), Palmer hightails it through the stomping Fishtails and hits the melancholy button for the small but beautiful Followed Down Sundown.

One to be played at regular intervals.
Fred Dellar


Country Music People*****

'Spotlight Album of the Month': September 2004

This is an exquisite release, beautifully packaged and a credit to everyone involved in it. This is Angie Palmer's third album and if they're even half as good as this one they should be investigated.

She writes intelligent and literate songs with Paul Mason and they are all engaging in the same way as those of Mary Chapin Carpenter (particularly The Ballad of Love and Strife and the fascinating- and long at nearly nine minutes- final track The Street of the Cat Who Fished, which includes half a verse in French).

Fishtails is a little different from the other tracks, swampy R&B with lyrics reminiscent of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues that are basically a list. There are also elements here of Bridget St. John and Gillian Welch (the latter is also mentioned on Palmer's website and her excellent band are called The Revelators, no doubt in polite acknowledgement of Welch's Time The Revelator).

The subject matter of these songs is mainly about the trials and tribulations of romance, and maybe Palmer, who sings very well and also plays guitar and banjo (Gillian Welch again), has been a victim- but then haven't we all? However Palmer makes this hackneyed subject sound interesting, which is a rare achievement.

There are more long tracks (five minutes or more) than short ones, but a measure of how well this has been arranged, performed, recorded, and presented is that boredom was the last thing on my mind when listening to it (and that's a rare accolade these days).

This is one of those projects that exudes class from every pore, and which is likely to provide new highlights each time it is played. If the band goes on the road with this album only a fool would avoid seeing them. Let?s hope they are as good live as in the studio. A definite one for my albums of the year- if anyone asks me for a list.
John Tobler


Uncut***
This Month in Americana Nov. 2004
The Lancashire-based Palmer has a delicious hair-in-the-voice approach that gives her a tough edge over her more fey contemporaries. This her third album after 2001's self-funded romantica obscura and predecessor 'A Certain Kind of Distance' is mostly just acoustic and voice, sparsely adorned with the decorative frills of guitarist Mark Townson, acoustic bass, violin, mandolin, and cello (the slow string fade of 'Followed Down Sundown' is outstanding).

We're in Joni Mitchell/Shawn Colvin territory here- pin-drop ballads with the faintest country-blues undertow- but, as on 'Fishtails' she can pout like the sassiest of bar room queens too.

Impressive.
Rob Hughes


Americana UK****
'Road' is unbelievably the third independent release from UK based singer- songwriter Angie Palmer; Unbelievable from the point of view that she has not been snapped up by a record company, surely one of the UK based labels could make room for an artist of this promise on their roster? Palmer finds herself back on these shores following years spent as an itinerant minstrel, busking the towns of Europe. This was time spent honing her talents as a performer & acquiring the emotional raw materials that she has shaped into the songs presented here.

Opener 'Footprints in the Snow' builds into a rollicking travelogue, employing vivid imagery and poets flourish that have handed Palmer her very own 'Tangled up in Blue'. Whilst sadly she does not return to anything quite as raucous again it is still a beautiful collection. The subtle blues of 'When You Call (for Lucia)' and the exquisite 'Less than I Need You'; the latter clearly informed by her years on the road...'I've been rich & I've been poor, Good & bad's knocked on my door, I've seen the old turn into new, but I need tomorrow less than I need you.' For those looking for a reference point, Palmer is not as grungy as Lucinda Williams, but possesses a definite edge over many of her contemporaries. I would like to have heard some more up- beat material on the record, not because the slow material was in any way deficient, simply because she does it so well.

I don?t just think she should be getting her stuff out to Loose, Snowstorm, Laughing Outlaw etc. I think they should be hunting her out, before she becomes the one that got away.
PGhttp://www.americana-uk.com


Fishrecords.co.uk

One of the Top Ten of 2004....Recommended.
We receive many self-released albums for consideration, in general they're a mixed bag with the occasional gem, but unfortunately most just aren't suitable - after my first listen to 'Road' I was checking to see if this really was a self released disc without a label behind it as it's one of the most striking independent releases I've heard: it's confident, assured, varied and a fully formed and realised collection.

'Road' is a really easy disc to listen to, this is possibly because there are identifiable vocal and musical influences throughout, but these are very subtle and rather than coming across as a pastiche, it gives the disc an accessible and welcoming feel, but she manages to strike the perfect balance between familiarity and freshness as this obviously a distinct and individual piece of work.

Lyrically this is an interesting album, she covers traditional songwriter themes well on many of the songs, but the first and last tracks are the obvious standouts, they're both substantial songs with dramatic and vivid lyrics that are full of myth and metaphor and certainly open to varied interpretation. It's a musically diverse album that moves between styles well, but overall there's the slightest country feel throughout. This is probably due to the choice of instrumentation which has a good amount of excellent violin and mandolin on top of the standard acoustic and electric guitars. Other detail is provided by cello and Hammond, and this mix of instrumentation works together well and suits both the acoustic and the fuller sounding songs, but even at its busiest everything is well controlled and never overpowers Angie's expressive vocals. There are a good number of standout tracks here, 'Footprints in the Snow' and 'The Ballad of Love and Strife' are both upbeat songs with great melodies that are very easy to listen to, and 'Satellites' is a track full of atmosphere with an excellent vocal. The final track is clearly the one that will stick with you, 'Down the Street of the Cat Who Fished' is a nine minute acoustic song that lyrically and structurally nods towards 'Desolation Row', it's a wonderfully constructed song with a simple guitar riff and excellent lyrics.

Although Angie may not be well known outside the North West this excellent disc deserves to find its way to a much wider audience.


CDbaby.com
February 6
This is one of the best CDs we have ever received. With the warmth of Joni Mitchell, she's the kind of artist that evokes a spontaneous exhale; a relieved sigh that comes from the comfort of her rich, solid songwriting and the modern ring of contemporary handling, reminiscent of Shawn Colvin. Angie Palmer weaves the ring of her guitar with the resonant buzz of her hearty voice and the lilting message of her songs, occasionally blessed by the voice of cello, into a collection of lightly country-tinged gems. So good in fact we are going to include it on our 'sampler.' This is normally reserved for cd?s that sell the most, but we love this so much we are going to include it anyway.
Derek Sivers

Folk and Roots
Palmer's style broadly falls into the 'Americana' genre with clear Country and Country rock influences, amongst others, whilst certainly not being a carbon copy of any of the current well known crop from across the pond.

"Road" consists of nine jointly composed tracks and Palmer is accompanied by Acoustic Bass, Fiddle, Mandolin, and Cello alongside her own Vocals, Guitar and Banjo playing. She has also co-written all the lyrics with Paul Mason which range in subject and tempo from the more reflective "Down the Street of the Cat who Fished" to the more Honky Tonkish rocking Fishtails whilst detouring through the smoother Country song "Ballad of Love and Strife" and opens with the strong and country rocking "Footprints in the Snow". Apart from Palmer's mature and diverse vocal styles the lyrics themselves are incredibly strong and whilst they deal with human relationships in the broadest sense they are the signs of a very strong storyteller in their own right.

Rarely has an independent recording come along (although to be fair Palmer has spent many years learning her trade, years that were well spent) which contains such a strong mixture of songwriting, vocal and musical skills, combining a firm edge with sensitivity, a rockier component with balladry and more contemplative elements such as the lengthy Down the Street of the Cat who Fished" (worth buying for the song title alone), this is a recording that really doesn't fail to please, no fillers, every track stands out on its own merits and a clear indication of the strength of the whole. That aside I still suspect that Palmer's strengths even more in her live performances, and I'll certainly be grabbing the first opportunity to test that hypothesis.

This is Palmer's third release and with this recording she has started to mark the impression she rightly deserves (the strength of this recording alone should be suffice to ensure that) and I would imagine or more accurately predict that she will be a far more regular booking in the better venues schedules soon.


NetRythmns

Barely two years after releasing an unbelievably mature second CD (Romantica Obscura), Angie now steams along with a third, which, as its title might be taken to indicate, is less a stop-off at the Crossroads than a timely drive down the highway of rootsy Americana with no more than a passing visit to the heartland of the blues along the way. Again, Angie's penned all the material herself in collaboration with Paul Mason, and her writing is characterised by an uplifting optimism that's tempered by realism, giving rise to a neat kinda vibe of loose rollin' on, movin' on through life, that runs through the album like that very road.

Just as on Romantica Obscura, Angie ably demonstrates her innate musicality and her credibly canny way of varying the textures and tempos within the span of the album. The opening Footprints In The Snow, an uptempo slice of homespun cautionary philosophy, comes complete with a jangly momentum that marries Desire-era Dylan with Untitled-era Byrds. This cut exemplifies the sensitive and empathic approach taken by Angie's backing band The Revelators (whose lineup doesn't contain a single John, but does include Richard Curran on violin and mandolin!), who accompany her on Road. Additionally, and notwithstanding the considerable expertise of her four-piece band, Angie keeps the backings delightfully sparse for the most part, and on one or two cuts (When You Call, and especially Less Than I Need You) I sense she's been taking lessons from the Gillian Welch book of restraint (the latter might well have been a lost GW outtake!). The tender Satellites, more in the soft-rock mould, could almost have come from the pen of Chris While or Julie Matthews, and gives Angie a chance to show just how fine a singer she is, on a range that takes in husky, full-throated and head-voice with equal power and conviction. Fishtails is a kind of 12-bar Subterranean Homesick roller (superb guitar work from Mark Townson here, by the way) that comes on like a bluesier Thea Gilmore, while the country-shuffle of The Ballad Of Love And Strife marries an airy, catchy Lindisfarney mandolin riff to a familiar, pithy contemporary morality. The drifting chords of Followed Down Sundown convey so well the lyric's combination of carefree confidence and scary uncertainty (Rebecca Maunder's cello is used to good effect here). Finally, the more lengthy but compelling Down The Street Of The Cat Who Fished is a cryptic and knowing Joni-esque parable.

This a fantastic and highly assured third album from Angie, housed in a really attractive arty digipack sleeve; and it's high time her distinctive talents were discovered and feted further outside her native north-west.
Dave Kidman