An unassuming collection of nine sensitively wrought songs, executed with the skill of a master-craftsman. ‘Wolf Counsel’, Roesy’s seventh studio album, is a quietly captivating experience. He manages that rarest of feats, keeping the bar persistently high from the opening bars through to the final coda. The overall quality of ‘Wolf Counsel’ rarely if ever dips however, by the album’s close you may feel as if you have heard some of the songs before.
Believe gets the album going in much the same vein as it continues, with tender, wistfully delivered lyrics reeling the listener in over a sparsely utilised guitar line; before the introduction of snare and bass offer hints of a blood-pumping crescendo. Lyrically, recurring motifs are quick to emerge. Well-worn themes of love, yearning, emotional distance and the way the mists of life obscure meaning in our relationships are embedded in the foundations of this album. Forever All and Learning To Crawl offer contemplative aphorisms for the ages with lines such as “You are the silence in my speech” and “I don’t know myself that much anymore”.
Of course, thematically speaking, Roesy is in good company here, with bedfellows good and bad to be found in almost every song ever written. In his capable hands however it works to fine effect. Wherever I Wander strays close to being straight-up country, but holds enough gravitas and sincerity to keep it enticing. On songs such as Empty Cup, it is easy to imagine that in the hands of a lesser, more ostentatious singer, or a more vigorous guitar strummer, that the material could easily descend into schmaltzy cheese.
Throughout ‘Wolf Counsel’ there is the sense that Roesy is an artist of great patience, his song writing is of a consistantly high standard, while his vocals are powerful and the arrangements are executed wonderfully. However, though the theme and tone of the album never becomes repetitive, by the time we reach Follow The Road they’ve become familiar.
If ‘Wolf Counsel’ never quite catches fire, we probably shouldn’t quibble too much. Roesy is clearly a man who appreciates the slow burn.