Colin Crighton: Fishin’ in the Swamp

Today the Fish Pond takes a visit to the swamp, where we find bluesman Colin Crighton and his album “A Stones Throw from Nowhere”. The title says it all, musically it’s lovely to listen to, taking you to a rocking chair somewhere on a stoop in Louisiana, the vocals haunting, harmonized, and faraway over a thick and muddy slide guitar sound. Who would have thought that this lad from “oop north” in my homeland would give us such a convincing swamp blues work.

Colin Crichton

Strongly opening with “Connections”, the slide intro belies the rest of the album, a sign of things to come; the lyric is desperate, clear, meaningful, and with Colin’s doubled vocal track, it’s in some senses is like a silent scream:

“I’ll speak in your tongue, but you won’t understand,
you could fall off the edge, but you won’t take my hand”

With a bit of a funk edge to this song, it works well with the various guitar parts. It’s great listening for a fall day, relaxed, smooth as silk, and pleasing.

“My Prayer” is an immediate toe-tapper; building into another great blues-funk rhythm, from minimal guitar parts, it takes an age to mature into the heart of the song, which is exactly the kind of relaxed lead in that this style needs. It’s bluesy at heart, and takes its time. The addition of that snare and the vocal is perfectly timed;

“I’m just drowning in this water, trying to work out what went wrong‚
please God won’t you save me, won’t you listen to my prayer;
No one is there to listen to a man that is not there,
I’m just a man that is not there”

At it’s heart it’s a blues turnaround, but with some lovely dynamics from the keyboard thrown in later in the song, and that perpetual reference to slide guitar. A simple, chill-out, calm down type of song, it fits the character of the album perfectly.

“This is My Time” starts on a happier theme, with a fulsome chordy guitar and harmonica; again that snare, with a very hollow sound to it, once again expressing the “Stones Throw from Nowhere” feel. It’s a more reflective song, giving depth to the album and taking us away from the bluesy trend to a more celebratory tone, but staying faithful to Colin’s genre.

“this is my place; this is my time”

It certainly is, Colin. Again beautiful use of double tracked vocals, and a mix of instruments, which brings the mood up. This is a song I can see myself listening to as the sunsets, after a magnificent day, watching the clouds go by as the night paints its way across the sky. It’s movie music, plain and simple.

“Where I Belong”, different again. A desperate, haunting vocal, over a workmanlike performance on the guitar, picked to give a sensitive feel to the song. It’s troubling, makes you want to empathize;

“The storm on the hillside, that will come to your door;
he’ll bring down your rooftops, rip up your floor”

It pulls you into the song, it’s singable, it’s hope through misery, through to a sentiment we all want to feel, where we belong.

I’m close to my heart now, I can live in my skin;
It is who I’ve become now, and it is who I’ve been‚
I will stand by this fire, where I feel I belong”

A simple song, in character with the album, mood music at it’s best. Love the vocal, love the emotion, love the use of instruments in the mix.

All in all, you’ll find 7 more songs on Colin’s latest, all in character, and building a distinctive style and a body of work for this Northern English swamp bluesman. His album can be purchased here, for USD 7.00 and up, and is a great listen over a beer or three.

Have a listen to the four reviewed songs here, and leave a comment; as fish pond family, we’re always keen to know what you think. Thanks Colin for some great listening.

by David M Smith