16 Jul 2024
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Ravenhall - Album Review: Live at Brebs

30 Apr 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

Guitarist Joe Ravenhall and singer Chris Brebner formed Ravenhall back in 2015, writing more than 100 songs together before recruiting drummer Damian Hilt and bassist Alan Treanor to fill out their sound. I was a big fan of their The Coming Storm EP from 2021, so I was keen to hear the new album to see what had been happening in the intervening time, and although I had no idea quite what to expect I am sure it was not this! Joe and Chris have gone right back to basics, with their latest album Live at Brebs featuring the two of them on stools at Chris’s bar, with Chris having just a touch of reverb on his vocals and Joe accompanying him on acoustic guitar. That’s it, nothing else, but my view has always been that there is nothing purer and more honest than a singer and an acoustic instrument as there is no room to hide, and every flaw can be heard (especially when it is a live recording like this one). But get it right, and it is magical, and one can probably guess where this review is heading. 

The duo each play to their strengths, and their long working relationship is evident in that each is totally relaxed, knowing the other will always be there to provide the support they need. Chris has a great voice, which I have likened in the past to Mark Cohn and Steve Earle, and here he is being allowed to fully shine. Joe strums at some points, but for the most part he is picking, adding nuances yet never overplaying, allowing Chris to shine on his own when the time is right but being there when there is a need to add something extra. I must confess I noticed quite a few covers on here, and I am actually not sure if this is a set of covers as although this is a live recording, I don’t recognise any titles from their own releases, but they have certainly put their own stamp on everything. I am sure Peter Cox and Richard Drummie never thought King of Wishful Thinking could be turned into something so poignant and beautiful (as well as being somewhat slower), yet the set closer is simply magnificent in this style. Slowing it down, changing the tempo and attack, is a theme of this release with It Must Have Been Love also benefiting from this revised approach as the guys refuse to play it safe but make all these songs their own. This truly is a wonderful album which I have enjoyed immensely from the first time I heard it, and it just keeps getting better the more I play it.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Ravenhall

With a profound blend of passionate acoustic guitar-driven tunes and poignant storytelling, Ravenhall, hailing from the heart of New Zealand, speaks directly to the hearts of their listeners. Founding members Joe Ravenhall and Chris Brebner, both seasoned veterans of Auckland's vibrant music scene, have been collaborating for years, bringing a wealth of experience to their project. Ravenhall isn't just a band; it's a musical journey, an exploration of emotional lyricism and open-hearted melodies that drew them to music in the first place. Together, they've crafted over a hundred songs, each contributing a dynamic personality to enrich the band's distinctive sound.

Officially debuting in 2015 with the release of their single Everything To Me, Ravenhall has since expanded their signature sound through a series of singles, cultivating a devoted audience across New Zealand. In 2021, they released their EP The Coming Storm, showcasing their intricately crafted songwriting and reaching new listeners both in their home country and beyond.

Excitingly, Ravenhall is gearing up for a major milestone with the release of their much-anticipated 10-song debut album Brother, scheduled for February 9th, 2024. Their previous project, Live at Brebs Bar, a live album featuring accompanying videos, hit all digital platforms in May 2023. Ravenhall continues to push the boundaries of traditional singer/songwriter music, creating a sound that is not only wholly authentic but also entirely unique. Get ready to embark on a musical journey with Ravenhall, where every note is an invitation to connect and feel.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ravenhall

Releases

Brother
Year: 2024
Type: Album
Live at Brebs Bar
Year: 2023
Type: Album
The Coming Storm
Year: 2021
Type: EP
Wild Hearts
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Straight Up
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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