Band: No Fixed Abode
Genre: Crossover- Celtic/folk -acoustic
When you are a Radio DJ, you could be having lunch sitting atop a telephone pole
and it’s guaranteed that somebody will climb that pole and shove their CD in your
hand. They will then commence to spout some well-rehearsed chatter about how their
album is a cut above the rest and the world will stop if only you’d play it.
And you know something, that’s okay. It’s our job to listen, evaluate, and play the
music if it qualifies within that allusive, nondescript criteria we refer to
as “Taste.” Naturally I refer to independent radio stations where airplay of a song is
based on merit and not some payola or marketing commandment.
But the sad truth is in the current scene, most of the music reflects artists
simply trying to clone themselves in the image of other successful bands. And this
redundancy spans all genres.
So, it is with pure elation that I write this review of No Fixed Abode’s latest
CD, “Clearwater.” From the first few notes of “What Did I Do” they had me. The song
launches into a rolling rhythm that has enough hooks at the start to catch a Great
White, followed by Una Walsh’s Angelic vocal that insists you listen on. I was
instantly convinced that these folks were seasoned professionals and yes, a cut above.
The second song on the CD, “Kebab Crazed Nutter” slapped me back. I struggle for
the words here. This is the song that caused me to throw out any preconceived ideas I
was forming to fit what this band was all about. Here is a tune that I can only
describe as Celtic Gypsy. Actually, it fully breaks out of any definitions of any
genre. It takes you to a place only your imagination can go. Have a listen, you’ll see
what I mean.
The fourth tune, “The Salty Sea Dog” Was a flowing, rolling tune that started to
reel the band back in to more traditional Celtic folk but somehow finds a new
refreshing way to summon the Celtic Soul. While listening I thought this would have
been a song John Denver would have sold his soul to record.
When the tune “Sunne Days” came up, I was already primed to expect the unexpected.
But I wasn’t quite prepared for such a radical and delightful switch. “Sunne Days”
just flat out gives No Fixed Abode an international appeal with the back street speak-
easy, ambience it creates. It certifies that this band has range. This song, much like
the earlier tune, “Modern Life” sent me right to a smoky pub in the New Orleans’,
French Quarter, sipping on something in a Julep glass and watching a sultry beauty
belt out her tune while a single spotlight followed her every move…or maybe it was in
And so it is with the entire album. No Fixed Abode are story tellers, bards in the
truest sense. They paint images with music as deftly as Leonardo did with pigment and
with equal innovation.
“Clearwater” literally possesses something for everyone. With only Tony Dean’s
perfectly stated guitar work and Una Walsh’s stunning vocals it would be enough to be
called a masterpiece… but there is so much more.
Comparing No Fixed Abode to other groups in an effort to give you a sense of what they
do would be an injustice. They stand alone at the center of a musical desert of
indifference. This CD begs to be in every collection. I give it 10 whole notes.
Timothy J. Dowling
A K A Hitspinner
Artist’s International Independent Radio
aiiradio.net Los Angeles Affiliate