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Forever on the Road/Forever at Home

Opening with a harmonica blast straight out of a Bob Dylan tune, Cavan Moran holds no bars in announcing himself as Manchester’s 21st century premier troubadour. Previously of the folk band These Eyes Are Cameras, his solo work has lost none of the zeal with which they packed out bars the world over, as shown by a tour around Europe in promotion of this album, as well as a successful launch of the album last month in his home city.

Although the opening track, ‘The Wheel of Rhyme’, will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Mumford and Sons, it much more closely resembles fellow Mancunian indie-folk peddlers The Travelling Band, having the same subtle melancholy which makes their music so moving when sung out loud in an intimate venue. The indie-folk sound can get quite stale after a while, but ‘The Ballad of Gare De L’est’, stripped back in terms of instruments but not vocal prowess, makes for a rabble-rousing foot stomper more familiar to the English folk of old. It’s interesting that it’s the name of a Parisian train station then.

There’s also touches of gospel in ‘Lord When She Comes (How She Goes)’ - and not just because of the title - which freshens things up and places the man in the category of a roaming preacher, travelling the country with a guitar and suitcase full of tales.

With a style that does often suffer from similarity, it’s difficult to make an indie-folk album stand out in the post-Mumford and Sons world. But with Forever on the Road/Forever at Home and its insistence on making subtle changes track by track, Cavan Moran shows this needn’t be the case. With a little ingenuity, be it the addition or removal of an instrument, or a small change in vocal delivery, he succeeds in creating an album that, although undeniably in the vein of the genre, is by no means completely defined by it.

Background image by Andy Cropper.

by Now Then Sheffield