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The Temperance Union | Songs From The Distance
This six-man group (actually four blokes and two girls) from West Norwood, London, have produced 1,000 copies of this CD themselves and are looking for a label deal. Judging by the quality of 'Songs From The Distance', one shouldn't be too far away. For this is an appealing collection of songs that the group themselves describes as being "loosely defined as Americana." Each of the thirteen titles on offer, plus the opening and closing Blackwater Valley themes, features playing with the kind of accomplished expertise that makes you wonder where this lot have been all this time. Sweet Oblivion is a classic ballad, with fiddle from Lucy Baker and vocals from Rhiannon Owen; 3 Line Joke has crunchy guitars and the sort of melody that simply defines the genre, while No Going Back's lovely bluegrass touches make you want to hit the repeat button again and again. Producer Rob Hewitt, who adds authentic touches of Hammond B3, gives the group space to expand, and presents the music clearly. Altogether, 'Songs From The Distance' deserves to be taken up by a record label that can give it the push it deserves.

John Stacey
October 2005