‘Howl And Whisper’, self-proclaimed ‘story singer’ Tom Cunliffe’s second album of moonlit folk songs does not disappoint.
Recorded in Lyttelton under the production of Ben Edwards, with multi-instrumental help from Dave Khan, Will Wood (percussion, piano),Tom Landon-Lane (slide guitar, piano, vocals), Steve Huf (bass, horns), plus four additional vocalists, this is more than just a singer/songwriter album. Open Moon sets the scene for the 11 tracks that follow.
With its stellar folk texture Cunliffe’s deliberate, easy vocals shine. Will Wood’s solid groove in They Dug It All Away drives the low tempo song forward, helping the track stand out. Dirty Roadstarts with finger-picked banjo before a haunting body of sound is built as a bed for Cunliffe’s voice, while the reverb-drenched delicate guitar work in Just Kids gives his vocal lines heaps of room to be focused on.
An experienced small-stage performer, Cunliffe honed his songwriting craft ahead of recording this, and along with some incredible instrumental backing has produced great folk songs that sit upon interesting timbres and textures.