Duke Garwood – The Sand That Falls – LP
Duke Garwood has always been a wanderer. His early musical life was spent learning his chops in the then seedy beach bars of My Lai, Thailand. Returning to the UK in the 90s Garwood played around and about in squat parties and blues clubs, before releasing his first album, Holy Week in 2005. This was followed by Emerald Palace in 2007, an album recorded in a lonely hut up on the North Downs . You might also have encountered Garwood adding screeds of brass to Archie Bronson Outfit’s live shows, or playing in The Woodsmen ‘all part of the nomadic wanderings of a musician and artist who’s perfectly content to exist and create on his own terms.Now Garwood returns with his first album for Fire records. Recorded in a vast, deserted house that was as much building site as abode, it’s soon apparent that The Sand That Falls is aptly named. For as Garwood picks his blues and murmurs his songs, time vanishes as he transports you to a world soundtracked by sparse plucking, gentle percussion and his deep, thoughtful vocal. Though steeped in the blues and deeply influenced by his hero Thelonious Monk, Garwood never becomes distracted into reverential homage. There’s a fractured, lo-fi feel to what he does, an unconcern with rigid adherence to tradition. In the scattered sounds and meditative feel, the space in which The Sand That Falls was recorded almost becomes audible in the music.On final, title track, made up of hums and the anxious, repeated banging of a drum, Garwood intones “Cleave no trace… leave no trace…” So Duke Garwood leaves us, yet again wandering forth in search of musical pastures new.