“The title track of Ancient Roads opens with a compelling foot-stomp and hand-clap beat to which are added slide guitar, fiddle and full band. The result is that infectious, greasy blues tone which Robert Plant mined so effectively on the Raising Sand album.
And yet the next track, ‘We Are Three’, serves up an upbeat, harmony-laden western-swing foot-tapper. It seems destined for heavy rotation on many a country radio station.” – Steve Raggatt RnR Magazine
With a background working on the railways and childhood years in Sheffield, Paul’s melodies and lyrics are full of Northern grit and honesty. From the stillness and peace of ‘Trust in the Silence’ to foot stomping beats in ‘Bring the Rain’ and ‘We are Three’, each song has a distinct musical arrangement including Merlin, Shruti box and bouzouki alongside violin and banjo.
Their sound brings a Yorkshire slant to American country porch music, at times leaning towards folk rock and blues with influences such as Johnny Cash, Mumford & Sons and David Crowder. Layered with arresting harmonies, this band bring a touching truth and simplicity to the country music scene. ‘Paul’s husky, emotive voice exhorts us to walk the walk on the title track of their debut album ‘Ancient Roads’. He sings over a kick drum dominated bluesy accompaniment which sounds like something Steve Earl might record.’ Tony Cummings, Cross Rhythms Radio.
“Ancient Roads” (2018) was featured as track of the week on BBC Introducing, Premier Radio and UCB and the band won a JUMP music video award for their song ‘The Fighter’ in 2017. Single releases include “The Fighter” (2016) and “This Train is Bound for Glory” (2017). Their latest EP “Light Up” will be released in August 2019.
The Oarsman – Track 8 Ancient Roads Album
Ancient Roads Album Reviewed by Tony Cummings
“Paul’s husky, emotive voice exhorts us to walk the walk on the title track – “Walk down ancient roads/The roads paved with gold” he sings over a kick drum dominated bluesy accompaniment which sounds like something Steve Earl might record”
In my original draft of this review I spoke about this superb band from Harrogate being in the decades long tradition of folk roots bands/artists engaging with audiences, both Christian and non-Christian. But folk roots is, in retrospect, an inappropriate description. The term I’ve now using to describe their fine album is ‘progressive Americana’ where element of prog rock are skilfully fused with some touches of Americana (catch the great banjo here and there). Led by singer, guitarist and songwriter Paul Mirfin ,these guys have emerged onto the scene easily as good as the bulk of the star names today clamouring for streaming attention. After being featured on Songs Of Praise in 2016 and getting radio exposure on both Christian and non-Christian radio, the band were ready for a bells and whistles launch and deliver magnificently with this dazzling debut. Paul’s husky, emotive voice exhorts us to walk the walk on the title track – “Walk down ancient roads/The roads paved with gold” he sings over a kick drum dominated bluesy accompaniment which sounds like something Steve Earl might record if he ever got saved. Then there’s “The Fighter” with its memorable Trinitarian lines, “Well, there’s one of you/And there’s three of me/Come on and fight.” Or there’s the delicate acoustic-driven “Trust In The Silence” which is as haunting an intimate worship song as you’re likely to hear this year. Remember the name. You’ll be hearing a lot more of these Yorkshire mens’ slant on American country porch music in the years ahead. I’ve amended this review in January 2019 so I can say this with confidence ‘Ancient Roads’ is the best debut album I’ve ever heard, the production by John Shepherd and George Oliver Tyreman is top rate…oh, and the sleeve is good as well. Here’s hoping they get to release it on vinyl!