Tim Bewlay
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Tim Bewlay

London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 1997 | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1997
Solo Americana Blues

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"...an excellent follow up. Disturbing, but also kinda fantastic." - Classic Rock Magazine


At the moment it’s taking a little while for me to catch up on all the CDs I’ve been sent, I like to listen to a CD a few times before I sit down in front of the computer. Every time I’ve sat down to review this album I’ve found myself sitting back and just listening to the dark tales. Now I have to be honest I was a little oblivious to Dogkennel Hill before receiving this release, but after a little bit of research I’ve been left a little shell shocked, you see it turns out that Dogkennel Hill were formed by a couple of former members of rockers The Quireboys (and if you don’t them, then shame on you), only this sounds nothing like that band whatsoever. All The King’s Horses is the groups second album, which has taken three years since the first, due to various touring commitments and a line-up change but (even thought I’ve not heard the first, but will certainly be tracking it down) this has been well worth the wait. Dogkennel Hill lurk where alternative country, rock and film noir meet, a dark sinister landscape that’s populated by the likes of Nick Cave and Johnny Dowd. The opening number Little Matters sets the tone, it’s a slow brooding number that equally menaces and entrances the listener, the instrumentation is sombre and the vocals a dark croon. Broad Church is a little more of a rocker but you can hardly call it upbeat as the band weave an intoxicating spell. Drink is perhaps the darkest ode to drinking ever known to man, violin, keyboards and haunting backing vocals provide the stark sound whilst frontman Tim Bewlay provides the blackened croon. Heavy Metal Lover is certainly a great deal rockier than anything that’s preceded it, in contrast it moves along at a decent pace and yet the ominous keyboards still provide that sinister edge, whilst the vocals bring to mind that of Iggy Pop (Avenue B circa). Miracle does offer up a little salvation and hope, the music is less sparse, a combination of pedal steel, piano and superb siren like backing vocals prove to be an enthralling and even uplifting mix. Judas offers up a new twist to the Dogkennel Hill sound with added refrained electronic beats joining the mix that along with the vocals give the song something of a Bowie tinge, it’s a fantastic brooding number that’s full of emotion and heart. Each time I’ve listened to All The King’s Horses I’ve enjoyed it more, it’s a superb dark, aching album from start to finish that I can’t recommend enough. - Time Out


If a good cast is worth repeating, than a good album is worth a review time and time again.
Truth be told, Sweethearts Of The Rodeo by Dogkennel Hill was already released back in 1999. Despite an array of excellent songs, the album sadly failed to make the impact it deserves. Quireboys founder member / guitarist Guy Bailey and singer-songwriter Tim Bewlay, who briefly played with Bailey’s band in the 90’s, formed Dogkennel Hill in 1997. The impressive line up was completed by pianist Chris Johnstone (also Quireboys), drummer Simon Hanson (Squeeze), Dave Tregunna (Lords Of The New Church) on bass and Sarah Denton on violin. Additional help came from Andy Wain (pedal steel, dobro) and Pam Donaldson (backing vocals). While we’re at it, main dog Bewlay not only provides main vocals on the album, but also plays guitars, bass, keyboards…

Bailey and Bewlay wrote most of the material for the album and the final selection is comprised of eleven original songs and three live takes. Mind you, we’re not talking the blitz-the-booze guitar rock one might expect from any Quireboys member, but more heartfelt and organic country rock instead. Indeed, Sweethearts Of The Rodeo is in title almost identical to The Byrds sixth album – a nod to ex-Byrd Gram Parsons later band The Flying Burrito Brothers, who, together with fellow ex-Byrds Chris Hillmann and Skip Battin (amongst others) pioneered the very country-rock sound that Dogkennel Hill obviously felt inspired by. There’s also a fair bit of Bob Dylan and even a little Tom Petty thrown in the blender.

Opener ‘Sweet Seraphina’ sure leaves a bittersweet aftertaste, with some moody violin play supporting Bewlay’s equally moody singing. ‘Las Vegas’ appears to be a love-hate ode to one-armed bandits, tequila and all the clichés that come with a visit to Sin City – the overall sound is less country and more rock-orientated here, with bang-on percussions throughout.

One of the most beautiful numbers on the entire album is ‘Never Get To Heaven’ – a slow-burning ballad warning a girl how she’ll never get to heaven “in a car like that”. Well, depends on the speed of things I say. The song really is great as it is, but I imagine what it might sound like had Bewlay performed it as a duet with an artist like Margo Timmins from the Cowboy Junkies…

‘Put Him Down’ thrives on a distinct Dylan-style sound with trademark violin play and witty lyrics:

“He was just a joker, you were always wired and taut
Now you call yourself a player a mover shaker
And him he's still an astronaut
And he will take his medicine
You know a spoonful never killed no one before
And the good doctor laughed just like the time before last
At this black and bloody visceral jest.
It’s time to put him down.”

We enter Parsons / Burritos territory with the upbeat ‘Dirt On My Shoes’ - boasting a rather catchy chorus to make it even more upbeat. So does ‘Simple Man’ with its equally catchy violin solo. ‘Pull You Under’ is a well crafted and rough-round-the edges love song (or anti-love song if you prefer), delivered in tones of simmering accusation and raw emotion all at once, while closing track ‘Find A Girl’ simply is a grand ole little country-rock ditty that can compete with the best of them.


Sweethearts Of The Rodeo is an underrated little gem that deserves to be re-discovered and appreciated. Get it via Deezer, Amazon, I-Tunes, Cdbaby etc

Claudia A
MUSIC-NEWS.COM - MusicNews.com


Que la vérité soit dite, Sweethearts of the Rodeo de Dogkennel Hill date de 1999. Bien que comptant de superbes chansons, cet album est malheureusement passé à côté d'un succès mérité.

Dogkennel Hill a été formé en 1997 par Guy Bailey, membre d'origine et guitariste des Quireboys et auteur-compositeur-interprète Tim Bewlay, qui a brièvement joué dans le groupe du susnommé dans les années 90. Le duo est accompagné d'un casting impressionnant: le pianiste Chris Johnstone (également des Quireboys), le batteur Simon Hanson (Squeeze), Dave Tregunna (Lords of the New Church) à la basse et Sarah Denton au violon. Enfin, Andy Wain (pedal steel, dobro) et Pam Donaldson (choeurs), apportent leur touche mélodique à cet album. Et pendant que nous y sommes, il est à noter que Tim Bewlay, assure le chant principal, mais aussi nombre de guitares, basses et claviers...

Bailey et Bewlay sont les auteurs de la plupart des textes des onze chansons (et trois prises live) de l'album. On est loin des hymnes rock à guitare que l'on pourrait attendre de membres des Quireboys ; il s'agit ici d'un rock aux accents country autrement plus sensible et organique. Le titre Sweethearts of the Rodeo est également celui du sixième album des Byrds. Sans doute faut-il y voir un clin d'oeil à Gram Parsons (ex-Byrds) des Flying Burrito Brothers, qui a révolutionné le son du country rock auquel Dogkennel Hill fait visiblement référence. Côté influences, on retrouve également dans le mixeur une bonne dose de Bob Dylan et même une pincée de Tom Petty.

Sweet Seraphina, le morceau d'ouverture, avec son violon entêtant accompagnant le chant de Tim Bewlay, nous laisse d'emblée un arrière-goût de mélancolie douce-amère. Las Vegas est un chant de haine et d'amour aux bandits, à la Tequila et à tous les clichés de la Sin City. Une batterie martelée donne à ce morceau un son beaucoup plus rock.

L'un des meilleurs titres de l'album est Never Get to Heaven - une ballade en guise d'avertissement à une dame: ce dans quoi elle s'est embarquée ne la mènera pas au paradis… Cette chanson est une réussite, et on l'imaginerait volontiers en duo avec Margo Timmins des Cowboy Junkies.

Put Him Down, nous raconte dans le plus pur style dylanien:

“He was just a joker, you were always wired and taut
Now you call yourself a player a mover shaker
And him he's still an astronaut
And he will take his medicine
You know a spoonful never killed no one before
And the good doctor laughed just like the time before last
At this black and bloody visceral jest.
It’s time to put him down.”

On entre en plein territoire Parsons / Burrito avec le très enlevé Dirt on my Shoes au refrain accrocheur. Il en va de même avec Simple Man et son magnifique solo de violon.
Pull You Under est une anti-chanson d'amour dont l'émotion brute cache une véhémence aiguë… L'album se clôt sur Find a Girl: une pure chanson country digne d'être jouée au Grand Ole Opry.

Sweethearts of the Rodeo: voilà un joyau injustement sous-estimé qui mérite d'être redécouvert. Il est toujours disponible sur Deezer, Amazon, I-Tunes, Cdbaby et consorts.

Claudia A
MUSIC-NEWS.COM - MusicNews.com


Discography

Dogkennel Hill "Sweethearts of the Rodeo" (WLR0208A) 1999 album

Dogkennel Hill "All the King's Horses" (WLR0210A) 2005 album

Dogkennel Hill "Las Vegas (Run On) 2012 Remix single

Photos

Bio

La classe d'un David Bowie, la voix aux echos Lou Reedien, TIM BEWLAY est un songwriter hors pair. Il cisele des chansons atmospheriques, traversees de guitares electriques qui puisent tour a tour dans les racines du blues et du folk.

TIM BEWLAY (dark folk, blues/murder ballads - London, UK)
Aprs avoir fait ses classes au sein des lgendaires Quireboys, TIM BEWLAY revisite Bowie et puise dans les racines du blues et de la folk pour creer un dandy rock intemporel. Son premier album "Sweethearts Of The Rodeo" a ete enregistre avec Guy Bailey (Quireboys) ainsi que celle de Dave Tregunna, bassiste des Lords of the New Church.. Son deuxime album "All The King's Horses" plonge l'auditeur dans un univers film noir, sombre et troublant.