The River Flows
Black Market Music
Melbourne player Nick Charles is one of the more considered guitarists in Australia. Never flashy but always precise, his intricate playing has brought to Oz blues a sophistication and depth that’s seen him admired not just in this country, but around the world.
Deeply inspired by the blues of old, Charles is also adept at all things folk and even country, as his latest record shows. His eighth Australian solo record, 12th worldwide solo release and his 20th overall, The River Flows is the mark of a musician with nothing left to prove, but still displaying a wont to explore. The addition of Pete Fidler on dobro and electric lap steel adds some exciting flavour, as does Paul Jones’ violin and Louis Gill’s electric and double bass – Charles has been, for the most part, a solo artist, and so to see him explore with the added pull of these fine accompanists, only adds to the album’s subtle power.
The album centrepiece, the seven-minute ‘Penelope’, is an incredibly fluid piece of work, an instrumental that both warms the heart and also manages to inject a dose of melancholy to proceedings, a near perfect melding of country with the blues, showing that Charles is merely getting better with age.
Samuel J. Fell