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Michael Weston King | A Decent Man (Evangeline)
Weston King has been a staple of the British alt.country scene for years, receiving crucial acclaim for his work with The Good Sons. As a measure of The Good Sons' stature, they were the first British group to sign for Glitterhouse Records and the first British outfit to release for the US label Watermelon. The band went their separate ways in 2002 but Michael Weston King continued to tour Europe and America, sharing the bill with the likes of Steve Earle, Chris Hillman, Rodney Crowell and Ron Sexsmith. So he's got some pedigree. 'A Decent Man' is his third solo album and possibly his finest yet, marrying Byrds-like guitar to wheezing Dylanesque harmonica and a trace of esoteric brass. Opener Celestial City sets the benchmark, opening with the sound of trumpets before evolving into a Springsteen-style slice of high energy Americana. 'A Decent Man' is one of those albums whose appeal unfurls with each play; it has energy, for sure, and depth; this is the sound of a man who has distilled everything from his colourful career and life - he was almost killed in a bus crash while touring Germany - into a solid block of songs that resonate with assuredness. Producer Jackie Leven adds a trademark dark sheen to these paeans to love, loss and confusion, with Weston King taking his responsibilities as a songwriter seriously, painting evocative pictures of a world where "Airfix wings tilt back towards the skyline" and resisting the temptation to chat up a 22-year-old woman because "I'm a decent man, I do the decent thing..when I can." 'A Decent Man' sees Weston King finally find his own voice; and if that voice is a little familiar it's no worse for that.

John Stacey
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003

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