Colin Henderson,
Shifting Sands
(independent, 2005)

Colin Henderson's songs sound perfect for the sort of acoustic-based songwriting fellow British singer John Wright covers, so it is no surprise to find out that this has indeed happened. Henderson is known too for his membership of the popular Tom Topping Band; in fact, Topping's son Joseph is one of the musicians on this album.

Eight of Henderson's own songs feature on the album, a mix of blues and the more contemporary, and he also includes three covers including George Harrison's "Isn't It a Pity?" Henderson's songs in the more contemporary style tend to be the more successful. "Damascus Road" is a strong, religious-based opener that highlights his strong voice and some pleasant accompaniment, not least by Andrew Jones on piano.

"Sausalito Calling" is really good, too: it's an upbeat song with some excellent guitar. The highlight track though is the gentle "Es Tiempo, Mi Querida," which is a quieter, narrative song with an appealing lyrical edge. It is the most interesting and original song on the album.

Less successful is "Jesus, Jack Daniels & Me," in which the lyrics just do not convince. The best of Henderson's blues numbers is "Blue Condition," which contains more of his own originality than his other blues tracks, underpinned by a satisfying bass line and Mal Mitchell's bongos. The other blues numbers are more conventional.

This is an album likely to appeal to Bob Dylan fans and those who enjoy stripped-back and understated songs.

by Andy Jurgis
29 April 2006