Bluegrass Unlimited - June 2002
Here is a trio of compact discs by members of England's Charlie Boston Band along with several guest musicians. Apparently, several selections from these productions have already received extensive airplay from country disc jockeys throughout Europe. The music of the group can best be described as contemporary folk music with distinctive bluegrass overtones.
"Driftwood" and "Truths & Fantasies" feature a total of 25 selections mostly written by Charlie Boston. "Driftwood" features a trio of musicians (ie Boston, resonator guitarist Ced Thorose and fiddler/mandolinist Laurie Harper) and emits a distinct folk flavor, while "Truths & Fantasies" engages a seven piece group and has a more rounded bluegrass sound. Charlie Boston handles the lead vocals and displays a laid-back delivery. He is also a creative songwriter with such titles as "Black Smoke Risin', "The Bright Lights of Town", "Maybe I'm a Dreamer and "Cabin on the Hillside".
The third member of this CD triad is "Diamond Back", a solo project by resonator guitarist, Ced Thorose, whose instrumental approach is comparable to Junior Barber. The CD's title comes from the trade name of resonator guitars hand-crafted by Thorose. The 14 selections are a blend of instrumentals and vocals including "Only Our Rivers Run Free", "Another Night", Tennessee Fluxedo", "Lakes of Pontchartrain" and "Gold Rush". Also present are Thorose originals including "Owentocker", "N19", May Blossom" and "C Waltz".
From what is presented in these three compact discs, it would well be worth a trip to England to catch Ced Thorose and the Charlie Boston Band at one of their live performances.
Metro Country - March 2002
London based Charlie Boston first recorded this album in 1999, but wasn't happy with the finished result, so two years later, he went back in the studio to record it again. I can assure him, he won't need to go back this time, because this fine album from a 'British' Bluegrass band is just about as good as it gets and stands up well against the best that the U.S. can offer.
Charlie plays acoustic rhythm guitar and provides vocals while the rest of this very talented band of pickers consists of, Ced Thorose on resonator guitar, (he also builds them) Tim Purkess on double bass, Chris Comac on mandolin & banjo and Nick Pynn on fiddle and dulcimer. Aided by Gitika Partington & Martin Groak on harmonies, I sat totally spellbound as I listened to some of the best 'Original,' (all songs are penned by Charlie) bluegrass music I have ever heard and the fact that it comes from this side of the water made it all the better.
From the opening track, the lively "A Wing And A Prayer,' through the 6/4 time of 'Blue Skies,' the wonderful "Don't Look Back,' and the slow reflective, "The Way It Used To Be,' to the albums closer, the catchy, toe tapping, "Out Of Site," this 12 track album, "Truths & Fantasies' is pure magic, with some of the best picking I have ever heard, no matter what part of the world it came from.
Before getting this CD for review, I had never heard of the Charlie Boston Band, but they have certainly grabbed my attention and I shall be watching with interest any future releases from the band and hopefully, I will get the chance to catch them 'LIVE' sometime. If you like good Bluegrass music, then make sure you get your hands on this fine piece of work from an all British band. If you don't like Bluegrass, then give it a listen anyway and be prepared to be converted. "Truths & Memories" is very deservedly, one of Metro Country's 'Albums Of The Month' for March/02. EXCELLENT!!!!
Southern Country March 2002
On this recording the band is a six piece, with Charlie Boston guitar and lead vocals, songwriter, Ced Thorose resonator and slide guitar; Tim Trundle Purkess double bass; Chris Comac, banjo and mandolin; Nick Pynn, fiddle and dulcimer; Gitika Partington and Martin Groak, harmony vocals. A very good collection of songs some telling some good stories and excellently backed. My picks, the waltz Blue skies, another waltz Please dont turn me away and the gentle The way it used to be. A most enjoyable album throughout and an excellent British production.
Country Music Round-Up - December 2001
In a letter accompanying this disc Charlie explained that he had re-recorded the whole of his 1999 album because he thought the original "was fairly amateur". I disagree. I enjoyed the original but then Charlie is a perfectionist. Anyhow, if this album had been given to me without introduction I would have been wondering who this top American bluegrass band was. It is that good!
A dozen superb songs from the pen of Charlie, great lead vocals, beautiful harmonies (Gitika Partington and Martin Groak) and wonderful picking Charlie (guitar), Ced Thorose (resonator guitar), Tim Purkess (bass), Chris Comac (banjo, mandolin), and Nick Pynn (fiddle, dulcimer). Check out "Maybe I'm A Dreamer", "Cabin On The Hillside", "Please Don't Turn Me Away", "The Way It Used To Be" and eight more equally great tunes.
Traditional Music Maker November/December 2001 [www.tradmusic.co.uk]
I am totally hooked on Charlie Boston's highly characteristic style of country music but, until last year, had never heard of him. Were it not for my introduction to Traditional Music Maker magazine, there would still be a Boston Band void in my life. When I listen to some of the unholy schlock posing as country music and churned out by a seemingly endless army of half-assed karaoke club acts, I offer up a prayer of thanks for such as Charlie Boston.
"Driftwood" was produced in 2000 and features some superb acoustic instrumentation from Charlie's band who, for this collection of songs, featured Ced Thorose (resonator and slide guitar), Laurie Harper (fiddle, mandolin, bass and vocal harmony) and Charlie himself on guitar and lead vocals. So tight and accomplished are these three musicians that the absence of heavy percussion slips by unnoticed and would have been burdensome anyway, given the nature of Charlie's excellent songs.
Marketing music of this high calibre is never easy and one hopes that Charlie is able to secure enough gigs in order to sell his wares and that his advertisements in TMM result in exposure on a generally overcrowded scene. If record buyers were a little more discerning in their purchasing habits, eschewed some of the less than worthy Nashville albums and gave more credence to such as Charlie Boston, the UK might have a healthier country music scene. As it stands, Boston is an artist with two CD's to be proud of - the second being "Truths & Fantasies", which also comes highly recommended by all at TMM.
Bryan Chalker, Radio Presenter and Consultant to the British Archive of Country Music.
Country Music News & Routes November 2001
London-based Charlie Boston introduced himself to me October 1999 via the release of this self-penned 12-track album of bluegrass music on his own Lara record label. I was completely captivated by everything I heard and had no hesitation nominating it My Album Of The Month. In September 2000 he released Driftwood, his second album, containing 13 tracks, 11 self-penned songs, one co-written and one cover. Again, he received My Album Of The Month award. In the very near future, a third album will be released.
So, why am I writing about his debut album? Charlie informed me about line-up changes and, with a bigger band, he felt the songs on his first album could sound even better, so he put his third album on hold and re-recorded this album. I honestly doubted that view until I played the 12 tracks again. Now I can tell you Charlie Boston is a musical perfectionist.
To wet your appetite here are the instruments you can hear on this album. Diamond Back resonator and slide guitar, double bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and dulcimer. Charlie is lead vocalist, supported by two harmony singers. If you hate bluegrass music, I beg you please, please, put your feelings on hold and listen to the music of Charlie Boston because he can take on all comers from the other side of the pond. The Charlie Boston Band deserves to be centre stage at the likes of the great Cambridge Folk Festival. The big British country music festivals organisers should also be taking notice of this great band. My album cuts are: "A Wing And A Prayer", "All You Want To Know", "Cabin On The Hillside", and "Out Of Sight".