This is the third solo album from McCarty, but he will always be thought of as the drummer of The Yardbirds, the only man who stayed true to that group through all its different versions since they first came together to support Cyril Davies in 1963 (as a side note, if you have never come across this amazing blues harmonica player you need to do so!). His vocals may not be as strong as they used to be, but in fairness, he is 75 later this year! Here he provides vocals, acoustic guitar, and some drums, and he has been joined by fellow Renaissance co-founder John Hawken on a couple of numbers with delicate piano. Mind you, probably the most surprising guest is Alex Lifeson, who provides lead guitar and synth guitar on “Soft In A Hard Place”.
In many ways, this is an album of its time, and that time was probably either the late Sixties or mid-Seventies. But, Jim is producing psychedelic pastoral folk with hints of folk, and it is obvious that he is doing so because he wants and needs to, as opposed to being forced to. There is a gentle flow through the songs, and it is incredibly easy to listen to. This is never going to set the world alight, but for someone who has been involved with the music scene for 55 years, he is showing that he has lost none of his knack of writing good material, even if it may not have the punch of his heyday. Obviously, fans of his previous bands, and possibly even Rush completists, will search this out. But actually, if you just want something to play on a summer’s day that isn’t going to tax either the ears or the brain cells, then this could be the perfect sonic tonic. www.angelair.co.uk
7/10 – Kev Rowland