The Ghost of HW Beaverman

(Self released CD,
*****/5 Star rating

A gentle stroll to the St. Lawrence River afforded James Hughes the wonderments of the home made board of the Ouija and the discovery of H.W. Beaverman, a character many believe to be fictionalised, whose roots run deep in Northern New York State, although his legend is somewhat elusive to the legions of tourists, campers and other irregulars of the Thousand Islands.
This discovery birthed the masterpiece that is ‘The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman’, which contains a certain melancholy on each song throughout the album, most of which feature clean cut guitars (not unlike the three stringed boogie wonder of Seasick Steve) driving percussion and a single horn which when placed alongside each other make for a truly enchanting and euphoric listen.
A crashed computer and a distinct lack of research from my part resulted in my reading of the liner notes (of which are usually received with a minimal of interest and hastily discarded of), and readily bestowed upon the listener to give yet further insight into the concept of the album, the discovery of the centralised character, and most importantly, the legend behind the character in which the album so passionately revolves. Folklore have an unbridled ability to delve into the psyche of even the most cold hearted of souls, and require just the slightest of efforts to allow them to ruminate reassuringly within ones sub conscience.

The almost cliché use of South London’s very own Adem Ilham to describe Folklore is becoming formulaic in its expression, but relevant nonetheless.

As music that’s emotionally provocative and cathartic as a direct result of passion and for the sake of being those very things this release is an unqualified success; maybe due to the fact that the album enrols countless contributors to lend the voices to become the townsfolk local to H.W. to tell the back story in their own words.
Having only heard of Jimmy Hughes and his contributions peripherally prior to the listening of this elegantly haunting and complex concept album, I approached the release with an air of curiosity. Elegantly wrapped (but poorly folded) and rousing enough to spur the most ill educated of the socially inept into becoming a hobo, wildlife conservationist, or at least join the local scouts, the album effortlessly provides any listener with the assurance that the content within will more than justify such an exquisite exterior and back story. But perhaps the most refreshing contributing factor is that the album itself does not feel restrained where many other similar groups that saturate this notorious genre of album have.

Shane Alsop