Paul Gurney has been heavily involved in NZ country-blues rock scenes since the late ’70s and it’s evident that he lives for his music. ‘Shadow Of Love’ sees him headlining his usual power force band to bring together a collection of well-crafted, melancholic love songs. The Desotos (who have two earlier albums to their credit) are Gurney (vocals, guitars), Stuart McIntyre (bass), Ron Stevens (keys) and Michael Burrows on drums. The instrumentation and arrangements of the tracks call out to influential artists such as Neil Young, Mark Knopfler, Emmy Lou Harris and The Eagles, and soaking it in you feel like you could easily be listening to an album from this time. The production is smooth, simple and stylish, the interplay and balance between all instruments showing an experienced approach from engineer/producer Bob Shepheard, and Steve Garden who mixed and mastered the recordings. Americana definitely showers the entire sound in stars and stripes, from the songwriting and lyrical content as in Highway Of Dreams to the harmonies and vocal performance (albeit with Kiwi twangs providing a bit of familiarity). Raven conjures a curious back story that begs exploration into the life of a self-destructive 18-year-old in Japan. The rocky guitar track fades into a distant outro, repeating the lyrics, ‘Sinner you’d better get ready’, to segue into the final track of the same name, a trad number which is the only cover here. Sinner You’d Better Get Ready brings back the American influence with an a cappella intro and simple banjo and mandolin backing that pays tribute to the traditional gospel song, neatly summing up Gurney and his band’s love of the sound and history.