Benji Kirkpatrick and the Excess – Gold Has Worn Away
Benji Kirkpatrick is predominately known for his work within the Folk music genre with bands such as Bellowhead, Faustus and Steeleye Span. Also known for his work with Seth Lakeman, he has successfully carved out a solo career over a number of years. His latest project ‘Gold Has Worn Away’ has been nurtured to fruition over the last couple of years and it’s a great record.
From early on it is clear to the listener that Kirkpatrick is an accomplished musician and arranger. Effortlessly combining bouzoukis with electric and acoustic guitars and teaming up with Pete Flood on drums and Pete Thomas on bass, Kirkpatrick has created a band that mixes Celtic melodies, Rock riffs, driving beats and pounding bass to form a power trio delivering vibrant harmony drenched Folk Rock.
Hard-hitting lyrics abound on the record dealing with social issues both past and present. ‘Hiring Fair’ relates to a practice now consigned to history, but the story it tells of a family man searching for full-time paid employment, and dealing with the pressures upon him are every bit as relevant to today’s “Gig Economy” as they were in the last century. ‘Human Cost’ is perhaps the hardest-hitting song on the record. In a graphic tale of forced migration due to the ravages of war, it shines a spotlight on the dehumanisation of victims as they cross borders and the disgusting trade of human trafficking.
No less disturbing ‘The Undesirable’ explores the stark plight of the homeless on our streets, while ‘Valley of Green’ laments the ongoing environmental damage the human race is causing to the planet. Such are the strengths of Kirkpatrick’s songwriting skill is that while all of the aforementioned compositions are self-contained, the themes and subject matter are interlinked by both cause and consequences.
‘Gold Has Worn Away’ is a record that combines formidable musicianship with strong songs that tackle difficult social issues with the strength and credibility of great songwriters like Martin Carthy and Billy Bragg. This one comes highly recommended.
‘Gold Has Worn Away’ is released on 6th December 2019 on Westpark Music.