The River Flows Nick Charles Black Market Music
Aside from confirming Nick Charles as one of Australia’s most accomplished acoustic guitar pickers and players per se, The River Flows —a tasteful and thoughtfully sequenced mix of folk, country and blues originals and two covers — is the finest album in a career that has yielded eight solo releases and three duo albums (with Alex Burns). Performing on six and 12-string Aussie-made Matons, a resophonic rhythm guitar and mandolin, the Melburnian receives support from Pete Fidler (dobro and electric lap steel), with assistance from Louis Gill (electric and double bass) and Paul Jonas (violin and vocal backup).
Charles’s left and right-hand work is clean and fluid, especially on eight self-compositions, the pick of which — Penelope, Watching Billy Play the Blues and a piece genuflecting to Doc and Rosa Lee Watson — are as melodically strong as anything he has created in a decorated three decades’ career that has yielded numerous awards, scored a record deal with a prestigious US label and earned touring spots with luminaries including BB King, Taj Mahal, Ralph McTell and Guy Clarke. Covers of a traditional rag (the only solo finger-picked track) and Bob Dylan’s Buckets of Rain underline the artist’s skill as an interpreter. Singing-wise, Charles has never sounded more beguiling. Exuding the pure sounds and ambience of his fastidious oldschool approach to recording, The River Flows is an aural treat.