Album Review – Tapered Point of Stone – Eli West – 2021
Eli West teams up with long time collaborators Andrew Marlin, Christian Sedelmeyer and Clint Mullican to bring us Tapered Point of Stone. Not only them but a number of other guests appear on the album, including one I wish to shout about as she is one of our own, the amazingly talented and beloved Hebridean daughter, Julie Fowlis (Ed. Zero bias on that call out!).
The album kicks off with 'Ginny's Little Longhorn', an instrumental made up from a blend of English Folk, Irish Folk, Bluegrass and American Roots. That may sound like an odd mix but it does two things right.
First of all it's good! I sit here with a blizzard raging outside, the lights flickering due to the high winds as well as the snow and hail battering the windows. Yet, none of that matters, the music not only has my attention but my foot's tapping along with it, the storm outside fading from my mind.
The second one is it shows Eli West isn't pinned down by any one part of the Folk genre. Instead, he uses ingredients from across the world to create something not just respectful of that which has been a large part of his musical life, especially his worldwide touring one, but a sound that while it feels true to the more Traditional Folk, it's still a uniquely fresh sound.
Eli West doesn't stop there, with the next track 'Brick in the Road', we have a little Country Music peaking through. While with Uibhist a Tuath (North Uist to us English folk) Julie Fowlis brings some of that Scottish sound to 'I Know Your Wandering Heart'.
All the while the main Bluegrass theme holds it all together, like the stitching in a brilliant patchwork quilt, handcrafted with thought and love. All these different influences could easily overwhelm most artists and audience, but not Eli West. He does it with such skill, it all fits together with ease, like an old friend coming bearing stories of other worlds and cultures.
The pace of the albums is also laid out with the same care, moving between instrumentals and song, changing the direction of the listeners journey while keeping them safely inside the comfort of the overall experience.
Tapered Point of Stone is an album I personally want to listen to over and again, it's warm and familiar yet still fresh, like a morning breeze across the Moorlands of Ness. It's an album that will appeal to not only those more traditional among us but to those who prefer something a little more modern. Unique enough to be timeless and enjoyed whenever you wish to escape the stresses and strains of life.
I can see Tapered Point of Stone being one of those albums that sits comfortably on my playlist, never making way for anything else, it's only April and Eli West brings us an album of the year contender!
Tapered Point of Stone is released on the 23rd of April and should be on your watch-list.
For more information you can have a wee look here:
A huge Tapadh Leat to Devon Leger for sending us a preview of the album.
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