Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Album: Otis Gibbs, Joe Hill's Ashes (Wanamaker)

Otis Gibbs - Joe Hill's Ashes
Otis Gibbs - Joe Hill's Ashes

Otis Gibbs has the kind of hoarse Woodbine croak that has you clearing your throat in sympathy, while his own blue-collar sympathies are clearly on display throughout Joe Hill's Ashes.

It's as if he's trying to embody the lung disease suffered by the miners and drifters that inhabit songs such as "Twelve Men Died In Sago" and "Joe Hill's Ashes". Set to desolate arrangements of fiddle, guitar and banjo, Gibbs' material inhabits a bleak rural landscape of "dust-filled dreams lying flat on the ground", where escape on the Greyhound bus brings only the realisation that "with every mile, my soul gathered rust", and where age is measured by how many friends have died. It's not the most uplifting of material, but there's an authenticity and dedication in Gibbs' delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity.

DOWNLOAD THIS Joe Hill's Ashes; Where Only The Graves Are Real

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It feels like friends are few and far between. If you're not getting the help you need, ask why. It may be because you have been so preoccupied with work. Skipping special occasions and failing to return phone calls causes resentment. You have to be more engaged to sustain loving bonds. Call someone you've missed. It may take a few tries, but it's worth the effort. Be forthright about why you have been out of touch. Communication is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship.More