Norfolk-based Nic Norton and The County Band showcase six original new songs in this debut EP, displaying a neat line in observational storytelling, and delivering a satisfying blend of folk and Americana. Cleverly crafted vocals and guitar from Nic are infused with expressive fiddle from Paul Keeler to create a satisfying brew.
The six tracks traverse a wide landscape that starts with an up-tempo Broken with its tambourine and drums accompaniment. The Tarot Deck, with the flavour of Jacques Brel deals a cautionary tale of time spent in one too many Catalonian bar. Ode to Lavinia in Winter begins with growling Leonard Cohen vocals before building to tragic conclusion. The wistfulness of Mary's Song and its plaintive call makes way for Walrus, a sensitively comedic character portrait that reminds of the late great Jake Thackray.
The final track (co-written with Alice Mills) may have been inspired by Nic's time as a reporter in Newcastle, but we have all met characters like The Happiest Man in the World in many a pub throughout Norfolk. It is a lovely ballad on which to end, with shades of Ralph McTell being served up for last orders.