John and Sheila Ludgate
Rating: * * * * *
It’s been said, “The family that picks together sticks together”. That’s especially true if the family is as talented as the Ludgates. Dad, mom, and three sons; together they’ve put together a very impressive collection of original music.
John and Sheila Ludgate wrote all the cuts on this very entertaining and emotive, not to mention well-engineered CD. The two do a fine job on vocals as well, with John on acoustic guitar and Sheila, bass guitar, backed very capably by sons Anthony on acoustic guitar, Luke on electric and acoustic guitars, and Shane drums, percussion, and string arrangements.
The CD kicks off with “Electric Guitars” with its haunting harmony vocals and lead and back up electric guitar work, hearkening back to Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and the 1960s. Likewise the title cut is quite sensitive and unassuming, giving way to another rock-oriented offering, “One Thing’s For Certain” (that being change). Closely related to that one is one of my favorite cuts on the CD, “Blink” for its beautiful guitar work surrounding very haunting lyrics: “Turn around, you'll find tomorrow, turn around again, you'll find tomorrow's gone. Blink, and it's over; Blink, and it's gone.” Be it a season in life, or life itself, “Blink and it’s gone.” Knitting all these excellent tracks together is a theme: coming home; it could be a physical place or an emotional, spiritual feeling.
Rounding out this excellent CD is a pair of tributes to man’s best friend: the humorous “I’m a Dog”, a charming piece sung from the dog’s standpoint, followed by “A Dog’s Last Ride,” a sad farewell sure to bring a tear.
John and Sheila have been at this for a while, and it shows; there’s a lot to like about this CD…very thoughtful lyrics put to a nice mix of acoustic folk and electric folk-rock, all backed by some very creative instrumental work. The production is impeccable, every bit the equal of professional recording studios. It’s no surprise “Northern Soul” has already garnered some very favorable attention in Canada and the USA. Put the headphones on, kick back, and take it all in.
*Reviewer for Bluegrass Now, Bluegrass Unlimited, Tricopolis Records