Mir – Secret (Barbaraville Records)
You probably haven’t heard of Mir, which means you probably haven’t heard of Miriam Campbell. Louder Than Wars Paul Scott-Bates explains why that’s a travesty and why it’s something that should be corrected post-haste.
Miriam was born in Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, the daughter of musical parents who also guided a guitar playing brother. It’s no surprise then that Miriam should has been immersed in music from the tender age of 3.
With her band, which includes the likes of Allan Leckie, Jim Hornsby and one Martin Stephenson, Mir has created a wonderful album of refreshing uplifting songs. It’s easy to see the influences too – if you were told that some songs originated with Johnny Cash, you’d have no reason to doubt it. It’s easy to imagine the Man In Black standing on the stage at Folsom Prison and belting out the wonderful Soul.
There are also Patsy Cline undertones here, someone who’s been a huge influence on Mir, and you can also find black comedy on the lovely Old No. 7, a lament to the bottle of badness. This album succeeds where others have failed with its brutal passion and gutsy honesty. Roses is simply lovely and is remarkable in the simplicity in which it blissfully whisps along, wind blowing through your hair as you walk across the fields, shielding your eyes from the sun and waiting patiently for that special one to appear.
Anyone that doesn’t sing along to Rainbows after the first play needs to seek help. It’s classic country / folk / pop and has one of those melodies that will not leave you. It’s a simple song and a simple lesson in songwriting.
Made Me ventures into standard rock’n’roll from the early days of Mr Presley and Leckie’s piano in the background is marvellous. The gospel organ on Love On The Wind is equally sublime as it backs another beautifully written track, this time from the very underrated Helen McCookerybook, formerly of The Chefs and Skat.
This is a collection of effortless and uncomplicated songs – and any CD that starts and ends with the sound of a vinyl record crackling deserves to be heard.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.