Saturday, November 7, 2015

"The River Flows" - stylish new CD from Nick Charles

The River Flows
By Nick Charles
CD review by Clinton White

The serenity in the cover picture, the upper reaches of the Yarra River, on Nick Charles’ new album, The River Flows, not only makes for very nice packaging but also headlines what you can expect from this very stylish collection of ten mainly originals.  They’re all in Charles’ signature Sunday afternoon laid-back style.

The Melbourne-based blues and roots guitarist singer songwriter has gone a step further from his eight or so previous offerings, this time including some friends for instrumental and vocal backing on some of the tracks.

Recording quality is excellent.  Close mics pick up every nuance of Charles’ sensitive, expressive playing and the backing group adds a nice, subtle edge.  It’s an unmistakable blues sound peppered with an occasional country riff.  The overall balance is very pleasing, with good room-filling stereo spread and separation.

The one cover on The River Flows is Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain”.  Nick Charles makes it his own with an interpretation that isn’t that different from the original, but gives it a fresh sound.  And his tuneful, expressive voice suits the song perfectly.

This is not a CD for big-boppin’ parties.  It’s perfect for a lazy afternoon sipping wine under a shady tree.  Even in the car, tracks like “Penelope” or “Fools Gold” will help those miles slip easily behind.  But it’s just as good and thoroughly entertaining if you want to sit in your favourite chair and just listen to some satisfying, quality music from the very fine artist who is Nick Charles.

(The River Flows is distributed by Black Market Music.  Nick Charles’ website is