The Ree-Vahs! - Geordieland (Clare's Sons Music) 
The Ree-Vahs - Geordieland

A few miles North-west of Durham lies the town of Consett, home to the Ree-Vahs and an ex-mining boomtown in the 1800s. Out of that community, as often homes, came a need and a desire for folk music fuelled by the late Tommy Loan, a post WWI Irish immigrant to the area. Tommy's grandson Andy has taken up the mantle with the Ree-Vahs! and this unique style of folk music will now live for another generation at least.

The very modern and bright guitars that open the album 'No One Naas Us Anymore' juxtapose the sad lyrics of a man returning to his home town after a long time further afield. Album title track 'Georgieland' is a folk song for the Saturday nights out on the tiles while 'Never Been Before' is a gentle, lilting lament with Loan's soft vocals drifting delightfully through the evening air. The love song that is 'Beautiful Girl' is perfectly honest and that North-East accent comes through strongly in a way that Maximo Park and the Futureheads have had such success with. 'Life's Road' bounces cheerfully along, 'Walk With Me To The Spanish City' has a dusky feel to it and ' Love To Be Your Lover' sounds like a Geordie Rod Stewart telling stories over a pint and a chaser.

I suspect these songs sound better and more vibrant in a live environment with all generations singing and dancing along, pints held aloft, but as a collection of classic story telling songs this is pretty great. On 'Music Box' is a wistful tune full of memories and regrets and 'Until I Fall Of This Earth' is a piano based lament that allows Loan's vocals to soar beautifully. The album finishes off with the folk meets skiffle romp of 'I Believe In Thee And Me' and you can imagine a lively bar heaving, smiling and singing along to this in happy unison. I think grandad Tommy would be proud of this snapshot of a genre that exists to pass on stories and make a mark in time. Job done.

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