The Stationary Willberries,
Folk & Blues
(self-produced, 2003)

Mike Williams on guitar and vocals; Al Lawrence on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Alan Hess on accordion and bass; and Pete Gardner on piano -- meet the Stationary Willberries, a band based in the the Isle of Man (an independent island between England and Ireland). Folk & Blues was recorded live at an open-air concert near Zurich, Switzerland, on August 23, 2003, and features the first three members of the band performing a lively and varied selection of songs.

The musical roots of the band are widespread, and their take on folk and blues is a rich and pleasurable listen, incorporating songs by Bob Dylan and Paul Simon alongside traditional folk songs such as "Fiddlers' Green" and Manx folk like "Pride of Purt la Morra." The vocals are resonant and easy on the ear, not too folky or droning -- and the music is excellent.

The band has a wealth of experience and that, combined with their communication and professionalism, makes the album fun to listen and to sing along to. There is a delightful solo guitar rendition of "For No One," from the Beatles, a little lake of tranquility beside an otherwise quite rousing choice of tracks. I enjoyed the eclectic mix, the infectious rhythms and the blend of instruments -- there's a touch of country, Cajun and an a cappella track in the recording, too!

I kept being tickled by the familiarity of the name, yet sure I'd not heard them before -- of course, I was thinking of the Traveling Wilburys! I venture to reassure that this less famous group will not disappoint -- whether stationary or on the move!

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 28 May 2005