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Jonathan Kershaw

Bizarre Tales

Circus Bizarre Records

www.jonkershawmusic.com

 

 For those of you not familiar with Jonathan Kershaw, he’s an accomplished guitarist that originally hailed from Yorkshire, but now resides on the semi-sunny South Coast of England. Musically speaking, “Bizarre Tales” falls somewhere firmly between Blackmore’s Night, Kristin Sweetland and Loreena McKennitt. The sound is partially Celtic, partially rock with subtle touches of Baroque. For those of us who grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Mostly Autumn and Clannad, such comparisons are easily understandable.

On “Bizarre Tales” a deep echo of mysticism permeates this record. Ancient, verdant Celtic undertones echo throughout and there is also a nautical sensibility here. Songs such as the dark, pounding “The Demeter” and the flowing, epic “Crossing the Third Sea” invoke stormy seas and longing for lost love. The Celtic vibe arises once again on the jig “The Green Man,” while “Never Love An Angel” could be a song from the latest Nightwish album.

My two personal favorite songs on “Bizarre Tales” are the slow burn turned raging inferno of “Andrasta” –who was an Iceni Celtic tribal war Goddess worshiped by the legendary Queen Boudicca- and the whimsical, ribald “The Alchemist’s Penny,” which is the quintessential type of song one could hear on the thoroughfare of your local Renaissance Faire.

On tunes such as “Clocks & Mirrors” guest vocalists Laura Fauvel and Karina McGrath provide exceptional vocal accompaniment. Chris Jones lays down some truly exquisite violin throughout the album, while Celtic flute and bodhrans also abound.

“Bizarre Tales” is a lush, emotive record, full of sweeping aural landscapes. This album is a touchstone for the best of several musical styles. It is a truly enjoyable listening experience.

 

 

 

~ Michael Lohr