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Album Review - Dave Sutherland - Last Drop Of Empty by David Dodsworth

I first came across Dave Sutherland at a local bar and he showed me how to tune my banjo by ear as the battery on my tuner had expired. There I was introduced to a country singer with stories set in my part of the world. I was so impressed and enthralled that I purchased all 3 of his available albums from him at the time.


Comfortable Junction 1999 started a run of three impressive albums giving hints of the storytelling prowess to come on later albums.

2002's American Refrigerator, contained the original version of the anthemic and crowd favorite From The Vauxhall Tavern To The Deptford Broadway that has been rerecorded for Last Drop Of Empty. The last of these 3 albums On The Waiting List from 2008 showed Dave at his lyrical best and as a new fan I was looking forward to future releases. So I waited, and waited. Little did I know at the time that the title of that album would ring true. Dave had put everybody on the waiting list for his next release.

Over the years I managed to get to see Dave play sporadically here and there across London and a few years ago Dave entered the studio both here and across the pond. Once the new album was completed the release was affected by first the pandemic and then the slow turning wheels of the record industry. What's another year when you've been waiting this long? Then in September 2021 a copy of Last Drop Of Empty dropped through my letterbox a full six months before the official release for my own delight and that of my listeners on The Cletus & Co Radio Show.

Last Drop Of Empty is produced by Grammy Award winning producer Stacy Parrish and legendary Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna bass player Jack Casady, who also plays bass on the album. Obviously I couldn't wait to hear what I'd been waiting so long for and just typical when you wait so long for something you end up just a little bit disappointed. Dave's recorded voice was a bit older; the writing was more considered the arrangements more produced. This isn't what a Dave Sutherland album is supposed to be - Is it?

I left the album alone for a couple of weeks as I listen to so much music because of my radio show I'm always moving forward. Then I thought to myself let's listen again to Last Drop Of Empty but this time listen with new ears as it's been a while and time has moved on. This time I really started to listen to the new songs and appreciate the more sophisticated production and even got used to the new recording of From The Vauxhall Tavern To The Deptford Broadway. Very quickly Yorkshire Grey became a favorite as it depicted a world that I knew growing up in east London.

Many of the traits I liked about Dave's music were still there; you just had to listen a little more carefully.

Other highlights for me are One True Love as I'm a sucker for a cello in a contemporary song. Ever Changing Skyline as Dave has witnessed many of the changes in London that I have. The painfully beautiful Damaged has picked up a lot of airplay as I'm sure it has struck a chord with many people that have listened to it. Dave's duet with Moa Drugge on Most Of The Thing That You Are provides a welcome additional voice as the album nears its end. Down To The Last Drop Of Empty ends very well with the title track where the accordion pulls the album along to a fine conclusion.

Now my conclusion, I started out with a bit of a love hate relationship with this album and I really had to dig deep to truly not to like it, but to understand the transition between the Dave Sutherland of old and the older Dave Sutherland.

And after all that what have I come up with?

It's a Dave Sutherland Album. It's an item to cherish!

Not so long next time. Eh Dave?


David Dodsworth presents The Cletus & Co Radio Show on www.ARCradio.online

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