We had first met Duncan Evans last spring, when we were provided with the opportunity to talk about the 7″ with which the British musician kicked off a new phase of his career. That’s right, because if by his real name Duncan is not immediately associated with any musical reality, it is with the identity Henry Hyde Bronsdon that ours is known in metal circles as guitarist of the avant-garde blacksters A Forest Of Stars. In this, his first solo album, Evans provides continuity to the two tracks contained in Birds Of Prey by offering us three quarters of an hour of excellently crafted dark folk, distant at least in sound from the parent band despite an all in all rather somber mood. It is precisely with the title track of the 7″ that the work opens, and it is fitting to repropose a decidedly very fine track that carries with it vague hints of acoustic Jethro Tull, thanks in part to Duncan’s voice which, as mentioned on the previous occasion, at certain junctures takes on tones close to those of the young Anderson. With the following Cindy, the musician from Leeds confirms himself as a songwriter of excellent level, thanks to a track that, starting from arpeggios with a Celtic scent, develops in a melodic sense providing a result with a sure impact; in The Curtain Falls Down a faint blues vein pops up, which proves to be entirely appropriate, and the concluding track Girl Of The Hill, too, stands out for its dark mood mitigated by the appearance of a female counter-song. The magnificence of an album such as Vali‘s Skogslandskap is not reached here, partly because Evans‘ vein is much more songwriting and less evocative, referencing, inevitably, the great minstrels of the British school such as Nick Drake or Donovan, to name but two; this does not detract from the fact that a record such as Lodestone is anything but a superfluous affair. The desire to pursue a solo career on the part of the Albion guitarist is amply justified by the performance of this successful work, which, as a historic advertisement used to say, could be a powerful antidote against the wear and tear of modern life, as well as a good opportunity to rediscover some of the magnificent artists of the past just mentioned.
2013 – Prophecy Productions