Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
There is almost nothing that can touch the feeling of the unhappy or dejected cry in the dark that is wrapped in the tune of the unforgiving and delighted jig; the dichotomy of two states of mind that we find ourselves in when something upsets us but we know it is for the greater good that it happens.
For John Cee Stannard & Blues Horizon that sensation of beauty wrapped in sadness and inside a mood of utter joy is what carries the superb album To The River to its conclusion, to its satisfying end, one of great importance because it is a recording that does not shrink from its responsibilities to the listener but also one that lifts the spirits in an odd peculiar and insanely gorgeous way.
The music is infectious, it seeps into the veins like a friendly, banner waving, cheerleading bacteria, the good stuff, the ones that make you feel the groove of existence and keep you coming back for more. It is nothing less than anybody should expect when knowing full well that John Cee Stannard is in town and ready to open up the musical medicine cabinet.
To savour the drops of the musical remedy, to cope with the questions of loss, frustration and inward despondency is to feel that hand upon your shoulder urging you believe that everything will turn out just right, that to come through the dark and see the eventual light growing brighter and more alluring is what To The River is all the medicine you need.
The added bonus of having a different take on The Animals classic, House of the Rising Sun, being performed is an impressive and cool moment in the album’s life; a song of angst, of anger and regret is turned into anthem of rejoice, of knowing that every young adult will go through a sense of growth made possible by forces beyond any reasonable adults control.
In tracks such Separation 2, the gospel imagery of Run To The River, The Wretch, the mourning and abandon in The Good Lord Didn’t Tell Me and the enormous satisfaction which comes with the final track Nothing Is What You Get, John Cee Stannard & Blues Horizon unleash a set of songs so in keeping with their impressive catalogue so far and one that is a hearty piece of fulfilment
Ian D. Hall