29 Mar 2016

The Diamond Family Archive - November MMXV

Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

The Diamond Family Archive may sound like a grand group full of storied musicians, but it’s actually a single fellow named Laurence Collyer. He hails from Brighton in the south of England, and writes, records, and produces his own songs through his own label.

He also likes to release covers, such as the ones found here on "November MMXV". You may recognize the fragile, banjo/organ driven “The Way I Feel” from the lips of legendary British folk rockers Fairport Convention, but it’s actually a Gordon Lightfoot song. Collyer definitely approaches it from a different angle, as evidenced by the dappled picking of a banjo and the warm washes of organ that paint this cover with rainbows. “Eight Miles High” is majestic in it slowness, and its pensive beauty draws you into its mystery. A classic song that is more than eight miles from its Byrdsian source, devoid of any Rickenbacker guitars. “Blues Run the Game” is a Jackson C. Frank song that’s been performed by many of the greats, including Simon and Garfunkel and Nick Drake. This is a song I feel I should recognize, and yet it escapes me. Perhaps it was Sandy Denny’s version, or I heard it in passing when I was drowning in Nick Drake. It’s lovely, what else can I say? Laurence not only has the excellent taste to pick these songs, he also has the skills to back it up with a great voice and accomplished musicianship. “Pussywillows Cattails” is another Gordon Lightfoot song, and one I do not know. It is shimmering and magical and hushed in its delivery. The final cover is from Kris Kristofferson, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”. This is simple and straightforward, with softly played organ and quietly strummed guitar.

"November MMXV" is a wonderful, satisfying EP, showing off the skills of this artist to his great advantage. He has a wonderful affinity for this material and I look forward to hearing more from him.

Check out Laurence's monthly 2015 EP releases here, available as name your price downloads.

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