Have you had “a bellyful of the bland and want music that lights a fire under you?” With a call to grab some grog, stamp your feet and prepare to run out the guns, Powder And Shot blasts across the broadsides with a collection of hearty seafaring refrains.
Formed in 2009, Run Out The Guns welcome all aboard to accompany them on a voyage through a rolling album which contains tunes, songs and shanties peppered with their own material on a distinctly nautical theme (now there’s a surprise), extending beyond the musical content to the artwork and into the general naval bonhomie.
Comprising in the main the band’s takes on traditional material alongside original compositions by Sam McGrady and lead vocalist Paul Sudlow, Ollie Pietruch’s very contemporary six-string electric bass sits beside the more organic and rustic harmonicas, fiddles, bodhrans and banjos of the quartet.
Of the traditional material, Bonny Ship The Diamond and the Hogseye Man medley go some way to furthering the nautical theme,with tales of whale hunting and the mysterious hogseye men, crews and ships abounding. Yet for those landlubbers seeking more terra firma there’s a nod to fair maidens in Step It Out Mary and the bright Sally Brown. The latter sung a capella, ever so slightly reminiscent of the style of Fisherman’s Friends, it provides an enjoyable variation in the style of delivery from other tracks.
In addition to the splendid narrative of Captain Ward, the band avoid falling down the sailing trapdoor of What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor and go for something a bit more alternative with the comically entertaining Chicken On A Raft number - a singalong chorus and, to their credit, something a bit different from the old standards.
Despite the stirring work the band do with the traditional material, perhaps the highlights though are the original compositions. Paul Sudlow’s sole song, Old Tom, is a striking and touching ode to old age and loneliness accompanied by gentle guitar and a touch of forlorn dobro. It almost seems out of place and a departure from the themes of the other material, yet as such makes it even more of a standout.
Pride of place also goes to Sam McGrady’s two sets of tunes - O’Brien The Piper/Rat Catcher/The Sunny Day and My Wife Upon The Heather Moor/Sam McGrady’s Reel/Cavanagh’s Tavern. Both sets are buoyant and energetic workouts which demonstrate that Run Out The Guns deliver the goods for people who love real and authentic music.
What’s apparent throughout this nicely balanced yet dynamic set is the simple enjoyment and enthusiasm in recording and playing the songs - the true spirit of adventure on the high seas coming home to roost!Mike Ainscoe
Released 9th June 2014 on Santiana.
1. White Hare Of Howden
2. Bonny Ship The Diamond
3. O’Brien The Piper/The Rat Catcher/The Sunny Day
4. The Cuckoo
5. Hogseye Man/Tarbolton/Toss The Feathers
6. Step It Out Mary
7. Old Tom
8. Sally Brown
9. Captain Ward
10. Blackleg Miner/Star Of Munster
11. My Wife Upon The Heather Moor/Sam McGrady’s Reel/Cavanagh’s Tavern
12. Chicken On A Raft/Larriden
13. Mrs McGrath
14. Three Drunken Maidens/Sally Gardens/Sligo Maid/Silver Spear