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Dodson and Fogg - Follow the Path

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 2 / 10 / 2017

Dodson and Fogg - Follow the Path
Label: Widsom Twin Books
Format: CD


Fast return for the prolific Dodson and Fogg, the project of multi-instrumentalist Chris Wade who on this latest collection of melodic pop/prog/folk proves once more that he is one of our best innovators

Ten more original songs make up the latest offering from Dodson & Fogg (at the time of writing; Chris Wade in his Dodson & Fogg guise has produced ten albums since 2013 and that’s not counting EPs and outtakes) topped and tailed with a track titled ‘By the Water’. Author, filmmaker, host of one of the more interesting sites out there on the web and multi-instrumentalist Wade is an outstanding musician. That has been confirmed time and again over his previous albums, and by opening and closing ‘Follow the Path’ with two versions of the instrumental ‘By the Water’ Wade proves once again what an underrated and brilliant musician he is. The first version is two minutes of acoustic heaven, Wade’s intricate guitar playing evoking the gentle sound of falling water. Like much of his work there’s a distinct 60's flavour to the track. For old-timers such as this writer it raises a smile and transports us back in time while the new breed would do well to listen to Wade and hear how it should be done, how you can take elements of the past and still create something new and exciting. The closing take is a nine-minute electric version; that Wade created all the sounds on this track confirms once again what a versatile and talented chap he is. The song creates different shapes to the opening version and just before the three-minute mark the riffing guitars give way to a more reflective section, before Wade returns with more stunning guitar work. While he’s never been afraid to experiment with his music this long version of ‘By the Water’ has to rate as one of Wade’s most experimental and successful pieces of work to date; no mean feat given how much ground he has covered over the past four years musically. Maybe it’s because Wade’s music has always made this writer head for the nearest lake, not to jump in to escape the sound, but to fully appreciate his work that ‘By the Water’ somehow validates that feeling that I’ve held since his very first album; there are few things more satisfying or appropriate than floating on a lake or hearing the water lapping against the and while listening to Wade’s music. It’s musical Valium. Even when he sings there’s this laid-back feel to Wade’s work, his vocal style is best described as dreamy; even when Wade rocks-out on his electric guitar his vocals still place the listener in the middle of a hot summer afternoon. After so many albums it’s still refreshing to hear Wade sing. While much has rightly been made of his musical abilities no other contemporary artist comes to mind who has such a distinctive voice in the way that Wade has. After promising to myself that after the last Dodson & Fogg EPs that the name of a certain glam-rock star would never appear in one of my Dodson & Fogg reviews again, I’m struggling here to avoid it. Yes, Wade has a vocal style of his own and, yes, he bears little resemblance musically to the later work of the elfin one, but still I hear more than echoes of Marc Bolan’s early Tyrannosaurus Rex work in Wade’s output. Bolan and lakes, drifting along in Wade world, it’s a journey taken often but with the release of every album still an exciting trip to go on. For every reflective song Wade throws in a catchy, edgier track. ‘Calling Out to You’ is one such song. Wade’s electric guitar soars and chills as usual. His vocals have a little more drive. There’s still this underlying trippy feel but there’s an edge to Wade’s vocals on tracks such as this which match the intensity of his guitar playing perfectly. That he follows such a powerful song with the pretty, acoustic ‘Don’t Worry My Dear’ without the listener even noticing the abrupt and total change of style and pace is yet another indication of Wade’s talent. ‘Leave (Feel the Wind Blow)’ is the song to aim for if you’re a newcomer to Wade’s work. It displays all of Wade’s strengths; his sleepy vocal style, his remarkable guitar playing talents both on acoustic and electric guitars and his knack for an appealing melody, something he seems to have an endless supply of. Or maybe we should recommend ‘A Fool for the Day’ instead; there are more ideas in that one song than you’ll hear over a whole album from most of Wade’s contemporaries. Yet still it gels so well. It still carries a tune, and if the excellence of Wade’s playing doesn’t move you then you really shouldn’t be checking out music sites on the web. Wade made all the sounds on ‘Follow the Path’, The album comes clothed in another distinctive and stunning painting by Linzi Napier, and while he has yet to put a foot wrong musically this album ranks up there with his best. Like all Dodson & Fogg albums the feeling is that his latest is always his best. Without making major changes to his music Wade always produces a set of songs that are inspiring and that transcend genres. ‘Follow the Path’ would have been the soundtrack to my summer had we had one; more than any other album recently it’s brightened up my corner of the world.

Track Listing:-
1 By the Water
2 The Lights Are Low (In My Dreams)
3 We Share the Song
4 Calling Out to You
5 Don't Worry My Dear
6 You Might Find Yourself (There)
7 Leave (Feel the Wind Blow)
8 A Fool for the Day
9 Someone's Looking Out for You
10 By the Water - Pt. 2

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Interview (2022)
Dodson and Fogg - Interview
Chris Wade speaks about his work as Dodson & Fogg, working with actors for his latest project, maintaining a breakneck work rate and why he’s putting the Dodson & Fogg name on hold
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Interview (2016)
Interview (2014)
Interview (2014)
Interview (2012)


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