MARKET SQUARE. CD/DL
Bowed but unbeaten, the UK folk legend and political campaigner continues to man the trenches.
In an increasingly crazed world, you imagine the long-derided, long neglected musical art of the social commentator will once more rise to rally the troops behind the might of the pen. While we eagerly await those trenches, here’s an honourable survivor from previous protest song wars, still fighting the good fight, still exasperated by the madness around him, still writing songs of potent truths. Ashley’s spirit remains strong on this understated album of sharp observations, lithe melodies and wry asides. His heart decorates his sleeve and if the generalisations of The Paper Song are too broad for serious impact, the heartfelt love in his tributes to Tony Benn and The Grease Band/Fairport Convention drummer Bruce Rowland (One Strong Voice; the unaccompanied For Bruce), spoken word extracts and the unashamedly sentimental homage to his art, It’s Just A Stage, litters charm and hope amidst craggy despair.