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Dodson and Fogg - A New Day

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 15 / 4 / 2018

Dodson and Fogg - A New Day
Label: Wisdom Twin Records
Format: CD


First album for 2018 from Chris Wade’s Dodson and Fogg project which contains some of his best songs to date

He’s back again, Leeds- based multi-instrumentalist Chris Wade presents his first album of 2018 under his Dodson & Fogg guise. A quick (and maybe inaccurate) reckoning makes it Wade’s fifteenth Dodson & Fogg album since the debut way back in 2012 and that’s not including EPs or side projects. And ‘A New Day’ is already old news as Wade has very recently released a further album, ‘Awake’, titled after his condition no doubt. ‘A New Day’ was released earlier this year and I could kick myself that I didn’t write a few words about the album earlier as the excellent 'Shindig! Magazine' (the best of the music magazines you can still go into a shop and actually buy and hold in your hands) in issue number 77 mention in their interview with Wade that there are elements of Neil Young heard in this latest album. Now while we’ve also mentioned in the past, as have 'Shindig!', that echoes of the Incredible String Band and Marc Bolan can be heard in Wade’s music, I was also going to throw Neil Young’s name into my thoughts on ‘A New Day’. But it wasn’t only due to a few musical touches on the album. A few days prior to listening to ‘A New Day’ for the first time I caught Young’s film, ‘Paradox’, which Wade couldn’t possibly have viewed before he released his two short films, ‘The Apple Picker’ and ‘Seven Days in Never’; all three films are fascinating, surreal pieces and have much in common. Young’s obviously had more money poured into the making of it but the effect on the viewer is the same. In fact, Wade’s limited budget probably helped towards his films just having the edge over Young’s. But the point is this; Neil Young, according to the interview in 'Shindig!' is Wade’s “musical idol” and if that magazine had not revealed this fact I would have suggested in this piece that, while I still stand by those Bolan comparisons at times, Wade is really the only contemporary musician who could stand in line to take Young’s crown. Wade, however, over the course of fifteen albums, has never released a below par collection while even Young’s most staunchest fan surely would admit that the great man doesn’t always hit the right spot. It’s not just in the sounds he makes that Wade can be compared to such a legend but in his film-making too. Like Young, Wade isn’t afraid to go his own way. Wade wears his influences proudly but for all that doesn’t stay in one place for too long. While he undoubtedly has developed his own sound over the course of his albums, there are always new sounds and textures in the mix to ensure his music always sounds fresh while never betraying what his fans have come to expect from him. While many musicians plough the 1960s and 1970s for inspiration Wade uses his influences as a stepping stone for his own vision rather than just recreating the sounds of yesterday. The titular opening track sees the return of Ricky Romain on sitar (Wade plays all other instruments on the album except for the flute). Just the fact that Wade can engage the services of such a renowned musician shows how much Wade is admired and respected by his peers; the fact that this instrumental is not a sitar-drenched piece of novelty pop like so many have produced but a beautiful, affecting piece of music is maybe why respected musicians like Romain have always agreed to perform on previous Dodson & Fogg albums. While Wade’s musical skills, especially on the guitar, have always been the focus when writing about his albums, it has to be said that, given his output, Wade is an exceptional songwriter and that seems to shine through brighter on this collection of songs. While he carries his own unique sound over from album to album, it appears that while he’s always delivered with his songwriting, Wade has really developed this side of his talents. If a fault could be aimed at earlier albums it would be that Wade’s dreamy, at times lysergic, vocals were just a little too laid-back on his mellower songs. On this latest album his vocals, despite still, for the main part, conjuring up lazy summer afternoons, seem to have acquired a little more confidence, a little more power. ‘When the Birds Leave the Sky’ is a fine example of Wade’s vocal abilities. One of his best-ever compositions, it’s not only Wade’s vocals that are outstanding; his electric guitar playing is, as ever, superb and the flourishes of Georgia Cooke’s flute that accompany his guitar really make the song special. If there is another artist currently consistently making such atmospheric music that truly takes the listener away from their surroundings and into another carefree world for the duration of an album then they’ve yet to reveal their talents to this part of the world. It’s become something of a habit to state that every Dodson & Fogg album is Wade’s best work to date, but ‘A New Day’ does contain some of his strongest and most innovative work. Apart from the aforementioned title track and ‘When the Birds Leave the Sky’, the almost otherworldly flute of ‘Look At Your Home’ lifts this chugging slice of classic, typical Wade into the special section while ‘How Long Will it Last?’ showcases once again Wade’s vocal skills and blistering lead guitar work. But while that opening title track begs for a whole album of Wade instrumentals, especially if they feature the sitar, it’s the closing ‘There’s a Change in the Air’ that shows Wade at his most inventive. At almost seven minutes the song allows Wade to fully display the various interlocking aspects of his music. That Wade made every sound on this piece is confirmation alone of his talent, the song is full of light and shade and the instrumental sections could have been pulled from a, yes, Neil Young album, such is the playing and production of the song. As mentioned previously Wade has already released a follow-up album and given his past achievements it will no doubt be as entertaining and inspiring as this set, although once again Wade has set the bar high. A visit to his website, which is always worth your time, at http://wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com is recommended; while the artwork on Dodson & Fogg albums is usually created by Linzi Napier and is always a pleasure to take in, Wade has started to display some of his artwork on the site and although some share similarities with some of Linzi’s art, Wade’s work can be a little darker and more obscure than that which his partner creates. Is there no end to Chris Wade’s talents?

Track Listing:-
1 You're Killing Us All
2 Are You Conscious
3 You Just Look the Other Way
4 I Don't Mind You Coming Round
5 Try Any Time
6 Seven Days in Never - Pt. 1
7 You Make Your Own Blues
8 Take a Trip
9 Dressed for the Night
10 Seven Days in Never - Pt. 2
11 Look At the Beggar
12 A New Day
13 Wind It Down
14 When the Birds Leave the Sky
15 In Between the Seams
16 How Long Will It Last
17 I Never Known the Likes of You
18 It's Not How It Has to Be
19 What Do You See in the Mirror
20 Dreambound
21 Look At Your Home
22 There's a Change in the Air

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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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